Peter Sagan storms to Tour of Flanders win

World Champion unstoppable as Cancellara takes second

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) secured the first Monument of his career with an unstoppable performance in the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders. The World Champion attacked several times and shed his final companion, Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), on the Paterberg before soloing to the finish.

Riding in his final Ronde van Vlaanderen, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Segafredo) stormed up the Oude Kwaremont to break clear from the main chase group but, after linking up with Vanmarcke on the Paterberg, he was unable to claw Sagan back on the run-in to Oudenaarde.

The Slovak carried a 15-second lead over the final climb and, arms tucked neatly over his bars, extended that gap in the closing stages as he time trialled his way to the line, whereupon he pulled a trademark wheelie. Cancellara sat up, saluted the Flanders crowd and drank in the atmosphere one final time as he came home for second, with Vanmarcke, who had been visibly weaker in the chase, happy to let him do so rather than contest the sprint.

Last year’s winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), who rode an inoffensive race, won a small sprint for fourth in a group that included Luke Rowe (Team Sky) and the Etixx-QuickStep duo of Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.

“I feel very good, I’m very happy. It was a super hard race from start to finish – always full gas,” said Sagan. “It's very hard to work with other guys because no one wants to work with me... so it's better to drop everyone.

“We have to think about the two guys who died last week,” he added, referring to the deaths of fellow riders Antoine Demoitié and Daan Myngheer, who were both remembered earlier in the day. “It’s very sad. I want to dedicate this to them. Also to [teammate] Maciej Bodnar, who crashed in training. He was very unlucky and I want to wish him a good recovery.”

With Tour of Flanders victory comes the inevitable Paris-Roubaix hype, though Sagan was understandably keen to distance himself from thoughts of a historic Monument double.

“Next week I will think about next week,” he said. “Not now.”

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Favourites crash out

The first half of the race was fast and furious, the bunch nervous, and with over 100km still remaining, crashes had left the hopes of three pre-race favourites in tatters.

One of the enduring images of this race will be that of a distraught and tearful Greg Van Avermaet sitting by the roadside, head in hands, after coming down in a crash that took out four BMC riders. The Belgian has come so close here in previous years and, after success at Omloop Het Niewusblad, hopes were higher than ever. He suffered a broken collarbone and was put into an ambulance along with teammate Michael Schar.

Also leaving the race in an ambulance was Lotto Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot, a great hope of the home nation after his fifth place on his debut last year. The 22-year-old came down with 128km remaining, shortly before the Wolvenberg, in a big crash that appeared to be caused by a jettisoned bidon. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) was also forced out of the race in that pile-up.

Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ) was hoping to carry his Monument-winning form into Flanders but he was dumped out of the race with just over 100km covered. The Frenchman came down heavily near the front of the pack and, after trying to carry on, was forced to abandon, though with no serious injuries.

Demoitié and Myngheer remembered

Nice weather and big crowds welcomed riders in Bruge's market square for the start of the jubilee edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. There was an impressive minute of silence in memory of Antoine Demoitié, who died following a crash in Gent-Wevelgem last week.

Shortly after the riders had rolled out of Bruges, with 25 kilometres on the clock, another recently deceased rider was remembered as the peloton slowed through the Hooglede - the hometown of Daan Myngheer, who died from a heart attack at the Critérium International last week.

Many teams’ only objective was to get somebody in a breakaway, but that proved to be a hard task with a frantic pace in the peloton, and it was only 70km into the race that a small group finally established a gap. The six leaders were Hugo Houlé (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Argon 18), Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Wesley Kreder (Roompot Oranje Peloton).

After a string of crashes, which held up several riders, including Vanmarcke, who was forced to launch a chase, the race calmed down somewhat but Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) split the peloton to pieces after the Molenberg. About 25 riders were in the first group with him, and they were soon caught by a second large group, just before the Paddestraat.

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Nils Politt (Katusha) then attacked on the Leberg and the peloton let them go. During the ascent of the Berendries there were only two leaders left in front, Van Hoecke and Erviti. After more attacks from the peloton, Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) and Dimitri Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) went clear and by the tenth climb of the day, the Kanarieberg, they found themselves in the lead group which now consisted of seven riders after the Greipel group had successfully bridged. At the foot of the Oude Kwaremont they were two minutes ahead of the peloton.

The key phase of the race

On the ‘new’ Flanders route that has existed since 2012, the final 55 kilometres are the most crucial, with eight climbs, including a double dose of the Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg combination.

It was here that the key moves were made and on the Kwaremont it was Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep) who accelerated. The Belgian was soon joined by Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale) and they closed in on the leaders over the Paterberg and Koppenberg, while behind them a group with, among others, Vanmarcke, Stuyven, Ian Stannard (Sky), Pieter Weening (Roompot Oranje Peloton) anticipated the Koppenberg and gained a small lead.

Claeys and Greipel crested the top of the Koppenberg first, while Stannard gapped Vanmarcke and the others. A little later Lars Boom (Astana) led the peloton ahead of Cancellara, Stijn Devolder (Trek-Segafredo) and Sagan as the race became tactical.  Jürgen Roelandts went solo on the Mariaborrestraat cobbles and ahead of the Taaienberg more outsiders escaped the peloton, including Devolder, Vanmarcke, Trentin and Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge).

A sprint up the Taaienberg catapulted Cancellara, Sagan, Stybar, Boonen, Michael Kwiatkowski, Rowe and Thomas for Sky and others into the first peloton. This group quickly caught Stannard back.

A few moments later, when riding on a false flat section in Nukerke there was a strong acceleration from Kwiatkowski and Sagan. With a big effort Sep Vanmarcke managed to close the gap. There was hesitation, followed by panic, behind as riders realised the last two world champions were up the road with a thoroughbred Flandrien. Over the Kruisberg they went and the elite trio bridged up to the break with 25 kilometres remaining, with a lead of forty seconds over the main group of chasers.

Once on the cobbles of the Oude Kwaremont for the final time, Kwiatkowski had to let go of Sagan and Vanmarcke, while in the bunch nobody was able to keep up with Cancellara. The Swiss powerhouse stormed up the climb and reached the top in third place, 12 seconds behind Sagan and Vanmarcke. After the wide roads of the N36, Cancellara was caught back by Nikki Terpstra, Claeys and Erviti.

On the 20 per cent gradients of the Paterberg, Sagan put in a seated acceleration and Vanmarcke fell away. Cancellara soon caught him at the top and the duo set off in pursuit, but the world champion would never be seen again.

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Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team6:10:37 
2Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo0:00:25 
3Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:00:28 
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha0:00:49 
5Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
6Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
7Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
8Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
9Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
10Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step  
11Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
12Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
13Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:56 
14Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:00 
15Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
16Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:02 
17Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:16 
18Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
19Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
20Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18  
21Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
22Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling  
23Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
24Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
25Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
26Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team0:01:45 
27Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky0:01:57 
28André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:02:01 
29Michael Morkov (Den) Team Katusha  
30Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:02:03 
31Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
32Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky0:02:09 
33Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:05:35 
34Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
35Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team0:07:19 
36Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-GreenEdge  
37Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
38Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
39Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
40Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
41Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
42Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
43Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
44Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
45Juraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
46Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie  
47Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
48Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
49Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
50Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
51Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
52Antoine Duchesne (Can) Direct Energie  
53Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge  
54Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro Team  
55Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
56Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
57Jesse Sergent (NZl) AG2R La Mondiale  
58Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18  
59Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
60Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
61Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
62Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
63Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
64Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
65Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
66Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie  
67Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
68Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
69Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
70Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM Cycling  
71Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
72Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
73Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
74Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
75Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
76Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
77Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
78Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
79Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek-Segafredo  
80Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
81Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha  
82Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
83Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
84Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
85Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18  
86Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Team  
87Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
88Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
89Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha  
90Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
91Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
92Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
93Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
94Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:07:32 
95Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:12:48 
96Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ  
97Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ  
98Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
99Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
100Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
101Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
102Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
103Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
104Federico Zurlo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
105Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
106Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
107Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
108Michael Gogl (Aut) Tinkoff Team  
109Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct Energie  
110Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
111Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
112Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step  
113Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha  
114Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
115Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
116Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha  
117Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data  
118Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFAleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFViacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team  
DNFMichal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Team  
DNFTiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFGrégory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMarco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFGreg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFManuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
DNFBram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) Dimension Data  
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
DNFMark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFNico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAndriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
DNFLieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFMatti Breschel (Den) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFArnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ  
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
DNFMartin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFGang Xu (Chn) Lampre - Merida  
DNFChun Kai Feng (Tpe) Lampre - Merida  
DNFRoberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) Lampre - Merida  
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre - Merida  
DNFJorge Arcas Pena (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFNelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team  
DNFDayer Uberney Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFFrancisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFJack Haig (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFJonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFAmaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFBert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFShane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFRalf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFLukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFNikolay Mihaylov (Bul) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFPatryk Stosz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFRomain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFKai Reus (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFWesley Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFIvar Slik (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFGiuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMatteo Draperi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMirko Trosino (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNSAndrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  


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