RACE: Gent – Wevelgem
DATE: Sunday 26 March

It was a Classics redemption that nobody could begrudge. Thirteen years after his first podium finish at Gent – Wevelgem, Sep Vanmarcke was back in the top three at one of his country’s biggest one-day races.

Leading home a four-rider group in the battle for the final podium place, the Belgian punched the air with delight as he crossed the line. Having had his 2022 Classics campaign wiped out, Vanmarcke had successfully returned to mixing it with the best.

He said: “I had a good winter and I stayed healthy. I didn’t have any injuries. I have felt good and have been racing at a high level. I’m just missing a little bit and I was thinking maybe this is just what I have left in my tank now, this is my best level, but now [this result] proves that if you keep trying for your best, at one point you will get a good result.”

Vanmarcke had already placed 10th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and sixth at Danilith Nokere Koerse, but this result and performance hit differently. Sensing that the faster finishers in the chase group were tiring, he helped split things up in the closing 10 kilometres, which ultimately paved the way for him claiming the final podium spot. His daughter joined him on the podium to end a truly unforgettable day, one in which Vanmarcke’s unmistakable all-in, never-give-up mentality was clear for all to see.

Sep Vanmarcke celebrates finish third at Gent - Wevelgem

Dreams of a return to the Paris – Roubaix podium two weeks later were dashed after he was caught behind two ill-timed crashes; “I think with these legs, a top-10 would have been very possible,” he said afterward. Little did we know that this would be Vanmarcke’s Classics farewell.

In July, he was forced to retire immediately from racing due to medical reasons. However, we are delighted to have Sep join IPT’s sporting and performance team in 2024. He will bring unrivalled experience and knowledge to the team.