Van Aert powers to Gent-Wevelgem victory

Belgian Van Aert beats Italian Trentin to the line
Belgian Van Aert beats Italian Trentin to the line DIRK WAEM BELGA/AFP
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Wevelgem (Belgium) (AFP)

Home rider Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma won the Gent-Wevelgem cycling classic in Belgium on Sunday, edging Italian pair Giacomo Nizzolo and Matteo Trentin.

The powerful 26-year-old also won the Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche classics in 2020 and has emerged as a major force in the sport.

The 247.5km race was hit by two teams pulling out due to positive Covid-19 tests, while a mid-race fire near the finish line also saw organisers scramble to reroute the closing kilometres.

Irish rider Sam Bennett put in a brave attempt but unexpected winds put paid to his efforts over the already tough cobble-strewn and hill-laden run through Flanders.