Niki Terpstra continued Quick-Step Floors' spring Classics dominance by winning the 2018 Tour of Flanders on April 1. The Dutch rider took a solo victory, after passing and then finishing ahead of breakaway rider Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). The Danish national champion hung on for second place ahead of chaser Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) in third.
The people of Belgium have a passion for bicycle racing unlike any other place in the world, and the Tour of Flanders is their homecoming parade. The flags bearing the Lion of Flanders fly all along the route as legions of fans - fists clenched, jaws wide open, screaming encouragement - cheer their favourites up the cobbled 'hellingen'.
Although the route has undergone several changes over the event's history, and while the historic Muur-Kapelmuur in Geraardsbergen is included mid-route, it is the new spectator-friendly circuit around Oudenaarde with the repeats of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg that provide the spectacle and worthy winners: Tom Boonen, Alexander Kristoff, Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Philippe Gilbert, and now Terpstra.
Terpstra followed an attack from Vincenzo Nibali over the Kruisberg but then dropped the Italian in pursuit of the breakaway riders; Pedersen, Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First-Drapac) and Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky).
Terpstra stormed past the trio on the Oude Kwaremont and went on to win the race. Pedersen dropped his breakaway companions and held strong over the Paterberg all the way to the finish line, finishing 12 seconds behind Terpstra and just ahead of chasers Gilbert and fellow Dane Michael Valgren (Astana).
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2018 Tour of Flanders - Brief Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors||6:21:25|
|2||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:12|
|3||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors||0:00:17|
|4||Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team||0:00:20|
|5||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team||0:00:25|
|6||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|7||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|8||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|9||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan|
|10||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors|