Follow the 2017 women’s Gent-Wevelgem and junior race

Sunday 26th March 2017

So far, the 2017 Women’s WorldTour has been fantastic for fans, with the first three rounds, Strade Bianche, the Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Alfredo Binda all being streamed live.   But all good things must come to an end, and the run of live racing stops here.  No stream for Gent-Wevelgem, I’m afraid.  But we can still follow the race live on twitter, and hopefully there will be highlights too.  I’ll tell you all about that, as well as how to follow the women’s Junior Nations Cup and U17 races as well.  But first, a little bit about the race.

Women’s WorldTour #4, Gent-Wevelgem

We’re back in Flanders, and the name is a misnomer, as the women start in Boezinge, rather than Gent, and sadly doesn’t have as many of the classic Flandrian hills of the men’s course.

This year the women start with 4 laps of the 11.8km loop in Boezinge that the Junior women race later in the day.   They do get to do the same loop as the men, with the Kemmelberg and Monteberg, then the Baneberg, and then Kemmelberg-Monteberg again, so the women will have a bit of that gorgeous Flandrian Classics atmosphere.  The last classified climb is at Monteberg at kilometre 104, followed by 44 more or less flat kilometres – but it’s in no way guaranteed as a sprinter’s race, as, like last year, a clever attacker can get away.

The race starts at 10:55 European CEST (9:55am UK BST; 4:55am USA EDT; 7:55pm Australian AEDT) and is due to finish between 14:27 and 14:49 CEST (from 1:27pm BST; 8:27am EDT; 11:27pm AEST).  The full timetable is here.

The best way to follow the race live is on twitter, with the #GWEwomen hashtag, and of course, the #UCIWWT for all the WorldTour action.  The race twitter is @GentWevelgem, and as always, I’ll follow on my list of live race tweeters, and I’ll probably be commentweeting myself, on @PWCycling.

We can always hope that maybe the end of the women’s race will be shown live or there’ll be highlights shown either before or after the men’s race, which will be streamed on Sporza from 14:00 CEST (check your local TV stations to see if they’re showing the men too, or look for livefeeds here and here).

The startlist is on the race website, if you scroll down (or of course, use CyclingFever’s), and you can also get the full technical guide.

Highlights should be on Sporza afterwards, and there’ll be a short clip on the UCI Youtube too.

More information on the race website (there’s more on the Dutch version), and a preview on Velorooms, one on Ella Cycling Tips and one on El Pelotón – I’ll edit it team previews as I see them:  so far we have one from Boels-Dolmans and  ORICA-Scott, but there’ll be more.  And here’s the Wiggle High5 preview video:

If you want to see what happened in previous years, check out the videos from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 (scroll down for G-W before 2016).  Of course I’ll make an equivalent collection for this year’s race, and will add video and photos to my women’s cycling Tumblr as I see them.

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It is a huge shame we don’t get the same level of coverage for this race, run by the huge Flanders Classics orgnisation, especially as the low-budget Drenthe and Binda races had great livestreams and social media.  If you, like me, wish you could watch this race, take five minutes to take some action.

You can ask the race organisers, and host broadcasters Sporza, what we can do to help get a stream next year.  My recommendation is to be polite, and positive, stressing how much you’d love to watch it.  Use your own style, of course, but here’s my example:

You can ask the race organisers on their twitter, facebook or email, whichever suits your style best – but there’s never any harm in demonstrating that there definitely is an audience for women’s cycling out there, and we’d love to see more (and in the same spirit, if you want to see the next round of the WorldTour, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, outside of Europe, why not use the #WeWantRVVLive hashtag?)

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Junior Nations Cup and U17 race

One of the most impressive things about Gent-Wevelgem is how they have SEVEN races on the same day – the elite women, elite and U23 men, and Junior and U17 races for women and men too.  For the Junior women, it’s Round 2 of the four Nations Cup races.

The Junior and U17 women’s races take place in Boezinge, and the Junior lap is the same 11.8km flat loop that the elite women start on.

It looks like the race might be using #Boezinge for the hashtag for both the young women’s races, and last year, local race organisers Sasspurters, who also run the Dwars door de Westhoek, were providing great updates on their twitter.  Results will go up on their GW page too.

The Junior women race 6 laps, 70.8km in total, starting at 14:15 European CEST (1:15pm UK BST; 8:15am USA EDT; 11:15pm AEST).  The race site doesn’t have much information, but it does have basic course details and a startlist.

The U17 women race a smaller version of the Juniors’ lap – 8 laps of 5.5km, 44km in total.  They start at 12:40 CEST (11:40am BST; 6:40am EDT; 10:40pm AEST).  Their website also has course details, but no startlist yet.

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If you see any more information, of course, please do share it.  I’ll edit more in as I see it too, and as always, big thanks to my Patreon supporters, who fund me to do this kind of women’s cycling work.

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