Has anyone checked the weather report for Sunday? Seriously. Have you checked? Wind. Rain. This. Is. Going. To. Be. EPIC. And you can all thank me for that because this is the year I chose not to head over there, naturally. I’m annoyed that we didn’t do a Women’s Gent-Wevelgem; we somehow missed it even though we should know better because Belgium is way ahead of all the other countries in terms of holding both Men’s and Women’s events. But we’re not missing this one.
Queen Lizzie has been crushing it this year, but since I can’t find a start list I’m just assuming she’s on it for Sunday. The weather will be a real wild card because wet cobbles are very different to gobble up than dry cobbles, especially when it comes to cornering hard and climbing steep bergs; if they haven’t trained riding the Paterberg or Koppenberg in the wet, those could be decisive in the outcome. And while we focus on the cobbled climbs, there are significant secteurs of pavé on the flat and rolling terrain, sometimes involving tight, high speed corners; wet cobbles could play a significant factor there as well.
And I’m not an expert on wind strength, but 16 kmph of wind seems like it might be strong enough to blow some of the ladies off the road if they are on deep section rims, so that will be interesting as well.
Remember there are prizes on offer; Don Walker is giving a free custom steel frame to the winner of the VSP overall, and Café Roubaix is awarding a set of their CR Wheelworks Arenberg wheelsets to the runner-up. Third place gets a free V-Kit. Boom. So get prognosticating and get your picks in before the clock goes to zero. Good luck!
Update: Thanks to @hudson for a start list.