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Tour of Flanders - Race debrief

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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) tries to hold the wheel as Niki Terpstra attacks

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) tries to hold the wheel as Niki Terpstra attacks (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Philippe Gilbert climbs ahead of Peter Sagan at Tour of Flanders

Philippe Gilbert climbs ahead of Peter Sagan at Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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 Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida)

Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in Flanders

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in Flanders (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Race: Tour of Flanders (WorldTour)
Date: April 1, 2018
Distance: 265km
Weather: Rain, turning dry in the final hour

Podium: 1st Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors).

Winner's quote: "For some reason, sometimes I'm given a hard time in Flanders. Hopefully, I've stolen a few more cycling hearts in Belgium."

Final kilometre: The long and flat run-in to the line offered a panoramic view of several groups fighting for the second and third steps of the podium. Terpstra had more than enough time to savour his win, Pedersen dug in to take second, while Gilbert out-kicked Valgren for third.

Unsung hero: As ever, the Tour of Flanders was littered with impressive rides. From Keisse and Declercq controlling the peloton for much of the early phases, Vanmarcke and Naesen battling back from falls and mechanicals, Nibali having the guts to at least try and attack, and Pedersen putting in a valiant ride to take second place. However, Ivan Garcia Cortina deserves special praise. The 22-year-old Spaniard bossed the early-break and was still in the fray with 200km under his belt. He may have 'only' finished 37th but it was a highly commendable ride for a second-year pro. Bahrain-Merida may be labelled – usually fairly – as an ageing team but they still have the odd young talent to keep things interesting.