Geraint Thomas third in Gent-Wevelgem classic despite crash

Luca Paolini
Luca Paolini has been a professional rider since 2000

Britain's Geraint Thomas recovered from a crash 50km from the finish line to come third in the Gent-Wevelgem race in Belgium on Sunday.

Italy's Luca Paolini, 38, won the 239-km event in wet and windy conditions for Katusha with Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) second.

Team Sky rider Thomas was blown off the road into a ditch by a gust of wind but managed to rejoin the leaders.

The Olympic champion had won the E3 Harelbeke race on Friday.

Britain's world time-trial champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, who is targeting victory at Paris-Roubaix in two weeks, gave up due to the conditions.

The Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish lost contact with the leaders around 80km out.

The one-day race is part of the 'cobbled classics' and is the last event before the Tour of Flanders, which starts on 5 April.

Riders battled 90kph winds and driving rain as the race, featuring cobbled sections and short climbs, passed through the Flanders region.

Paolini attacked with just under 6km to go and distanced himself from the chasing group of five riders to take victory.

This year's cobbled capers
28 Feb: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 200km, won by Britain's Ian Stannard
1 Mar: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne - 195km, won by Britain's Mark Cavendish
25 Mar: Dwars door Vlaanderen - 200km, won by Belgium's Jelle Wallays
27 Mar: E3 Harelbeke - 215km, 17 climbs, won by Britain's Geraint Thomas
29 Mar: Gent-Wevelgem - 239km, won by Italy's Luca Paolini
5 Apr: Tour of Flanders - 264km, 19 climbs, nine cobbled, one of cycling's 'Monuments'
8 Apr: Scheldeprijs - 204km, seven cobbled sections
12 Apr: Paris-Roubaix - 253km, 27 cobbled sections, another 'Monument'
Read Geraint Thomas's guide to the Spring Classics

Result:

1. Luca Paolini (Ita/Katusha) 6hrs 20 mins 55 secs

2. Niki Terpstra (Ned/Etixx-Quick-Step) +11 secs

3. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) same time

4. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel/Etixx - Quick-Step) +18 secs

5. Jens Debusschere (Bel/Lotto) +26 secs

6. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel/LottoNL) +40 secs

7. Juergen Roelandts (Bel/Lotto) +1 mins 52 secs

8. Daniel Oss (Ita/BMC Racing) +4 mins 15 secs

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