John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) sprinted to victory in the first stage of the Three Days of West Flanders on Saturday.
Degenkolb won the 167.5km stage in 3:53:24, out-kicking runner-up Robert Wagner (Leopard-Trek) and third-placed Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis), the defending champion, in a bunch gallop to the line in Bellegem.
The top 69 riders were all given the same finishing time.
Early attacks were snuffed out before a four-man break sprang away after 34km. Team RadioShack kept an eye on it for race leader Jesse Sergent, winner of Friday’s prologue, and with 70km to race the escapees were back in the fold.
More attacks followed but none stuck, and the bunch fought it out for the win in Bellegem.
“Two days down, one to go,” said Sergent on the team website. “Today was the usual Belgium racing, fast and aggressive but the team was so strong and looked after me. Big thanks to the team.”
After sweeping Friday’s prologue RadioShack maintains its lock on the general classification with the top three overall — Sergent leads teammates Sébastien Rosseler and Sam Bewley by 10 seconds — and five riders in the top 10.
Sunday’s finale is a 195.5km stage from Nieuwpoort to Ichtegem.
- 1. John Degenkolb (Ger), HTC-Highroad, 3:53:24
- 2. Robert Wagner (Ger), Leopard-Trek, s.t.
- 3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, s.t.
- 4. Maxime Vantomme (Bel), Team Katusha, s.t.
- 5. Alexander Porsev (Rus), Team Katusha, s.t.
- 1. Jesse Sergent (Nzl), Team RadioShack, 4:01:38
- 2. Sébastien Rosseler (Bel), Team RadioShack, at 0:10
- 3. Sam Bewley (Nzl), Team RadioShack, at 0:10
- 4. Svein Tuft (Can), Spidertech-Planet Energy, at 0:10
- 5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Team RadioShack, at 0:11