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Gent-Wevelgem leader takes wrong turn and strays off-course – but holds on to win

Marlen Reusser’s impromptu diversion didn’t stop her securing a stunning solo victory on a wet day in Flanders… which also saw a spectator receive a soaking from a passing team car

Marlen Reusser pulled off a spectacular 40km solo effort to take one of the biggest wins of her career at a sodden Gent-Wevelgem today – despite taking a wrong turn in the final five kilometres and veering off-course.

Reusser continued her SD Worx team’s dominant spring campaign on a miserable day over the cobbled bergs and gravel roads of Flanders’ First World War battlefields, drifting almost invisibly off the front of the bunch on the run-in to the Baneberg climb with 40km to go, after a mass crash had disorganised the bunch, before building an unassailable lead to win the one-day classic by almost three minutes.

But the Swiss time trial specialist – who has two world championship silver medals and one Olympic silver to her name in the discipline – will be grateful for her almost unmatchable solo prowess, as a wrong turn in the final five kilometres briefly halted her until then-rampant progress towards a sensational win.

As she entered the twisting streets of Wevelgem, the 31-year-old missed a right turn, and instead veered to her left and down a side street, towards two young, and rather bemused, cyclists.

Reusser’s unexpected dip in concentration recalled Elisa Longo Borghini’s arguably more spectacular wrong turn during a bunch sprint at last year’s Tour de France Femmes, but did in the end prove only a minor blip in what was a serene passage to classics success.

Almost three minutes behind the super Swiss rider, American Megan Jastrab continued her promising spring by winning the bunch kick for second ahead of Maike van der Duin, after a strong group which included Jastrab’s in-form DSM teammate Pfeiffer Georgi and Anna Henderson was swallowed up in the dying metres.

In the men’s race, you’d have been forgiven for feeling a strong sense of déjà vu, as Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte, in an encore performance of their 2022 E3 Saxo Bank Classic domination, secured another Flandrien one-two, with Laporte this time taking the honours after the Dutch squad’s dynamic duo attacked on the iconic Kemmelberg with 50km to go.

In an ominous marker for next Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, today’s Gent-Wevelgem was the third time this season that Jumbo-Visma have put two of their riders on the podium of a Belgian cobbled classic, following Dylan van Baarle and Laporte’s one-three at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and Tiesj Benoot and Nathan van Hooydonck’s one-two at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

While all our thoughts and prayers go out to Jumbo-Visma’s rivals next weekend, spare a thought for the poor fan, already cold and wet from the foul Belgian weather, who found himself on the end of a mighty team car-induced shower:

I felt that…

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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