Jelle Wallays hopes for a hard race at Ghent-Wevelgem


Tomorrow it’s Ghent-Wevelgem! The recipe for this WorldTour race: 250.8 kilometres, eleven hills and some Plugstreets. Ghent-Wevelgem is of course associated with the Kemmelberg. That hill has to be climbed twice tomorrow, the second time that the riders reach the top they still have 34 kilometres ahead of them.

One of the seven Lotto Soudal riders at the start is Jelle Wallays. He is participating for the sixth time, the second time in the shirt of Lotto Soudal.

Jelle Wallays: “Last year I punctured at a bad moment, just before the Catsberg. Then the pace didn’t decrease anymore. In 2015, the memorable edition with the extreme weather conditions, I made the mistake of taking back my rain jacket to the car when the race exploded. I was one of the last to finish the race inside the time limit (Wallays finished 37th, LTS).”

“It’s the first time that I will be so fresh to start this race. Last year I had ridden Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke, now I have only ridden De Panne. I had chosen not to ride E3 Harelbeke, but when I was watching the race I really wanted to be in it because I like a hard and open race. There might have been an opportunity for me.”

“There are different possible scenarios for Ghent-Wevelgem: the main favourites could battle against each other or a larger group could sprint for victory. I fear it will be that second scenario. According to the weather forecast it will be pretty good weather and hardly any wind. The second ascent of the Kemmelberg is often a crucial moment. Before the Kemmelberg it’s always an elimination and on the climb there’s another selection.”

“A perfect scenario for me would be to ride away in between the climbs and survive the second ascent of the Kemmelberg that way, even though the favourites would join my group again. That’s how I hope to get in the finale. In the past I have already proven that I’m able to do well in such a finale. I love making a race hard and I hope to do so tomorrow. Benoot isn’t racing and Greipel and Keukeleire can’t start because of injury and illness. We have riders with a free role and that creates possibilities.”


Line-up Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Moreno Hofland, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.