“In the sprint, I remained calm and picked the right moment to make my move,” the German said, lauding his Giant-Shimano teammates for shielding him throughout the race and bringing him in prime position to the last 250m.
“It was a super race. We controlled it all,” said the 25-year-old Degenkolb, who earned the biggest victory of his career. “I am lucky to have such a team.”
It was the second of three classics in western Belgium, with the Ronde of Flanders set for Sunday.
The 233km Gent-Wevelgem passed many of the famous battlefields and memorials of World War I, which marks its centennial this summer.
Sunday’s classic opened up with 40km, to go when some of the favorites made their move on the Kemmel, the penultimate of nine hills on the circuit.
Fabian Cancellara sought to throw off the sprinters, but failed to shake riders like Peter Sagan, Greipel, Degenkolb and Tom Boonen.
Belgian champion Stein Devolder led a break of a trio for 15km, but the top teams reined them in with about one kilometer to go.