Former World Road Champion Alessandro Ballan leads a group along the highway, en route to the ocean.
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Struggles won't deter BMC Racing debutante
Despite not finishing his first attempt at the Tour of Flanders, BMC Racing rider Jackson Stewart says he enjoyed the experience of racing in the cycling hotbed that is northern Belgium.
The 29-year-old Los Gatos native endured a fairly torrid race on Sunday, although he knows it's all part and parcel of the Flanders experience.
"I just had a few tingles myself - I went off the road once and I got [caught] in a crack once... both times I was chasing back on and I got caught behind two crashes all around the same time and then it came down to the legs," said Stewart.
"I couldn't close the gaps, so soon I was out of the [convoy] cars."
Stewart is a relative newcomer to European racing, although the former Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada team member is one of BMC Racing's maintstays - he rode for the squad when it was a Continental team racing in the US. It's his fourth season with the outfit and with its elevation to Professional Continental status he now gets to ride some of the world's biggest events.
Personal bad luck aside however, Stewart savoured the experience at a significant race. "It was pretty exciting. I wanted a little more from it but it was pretty exciting and it was good to see the team ride really well," he said.
"It's gotta be the biggest race I've done in Europe; the number of spectators, the hype behind it and how excited everyone is to watch it is something I've never seen before."
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