We're back on the cobbles! Welcome to live coverage of Nokere Koerse.
With 123 kilometres to go, we have a five-man break up the road that holds a seven-minute lead over the peloton behind. The riders up the road are: Yohann Offredo, David Boucher, Otto Vergaerde, Axel Journiaux and Mattia Viel.
This morning saw the first edition of a women's Nokere Koerse with Lorena Wiebes taking the victory ahead of Lisa Klein. You can find the full results here.
118km remaining from 195km
The leaders continue to hold a gap of just over seven minutes and the peloton seem quite happy to let them hang out there for a while.
With its relentless stream of cobbles and climbs, Nokere Koerse is a grinding down process for the peloton. However, it does often come down to a contest between the sprinters, despite the tricky uphill finale. Previous winners include Fabio Jakbsen and Nacer Bouhanni.
Last year's winner Jakobsen is not here but Deceuninck-QuickStep have plenty of firepower in the race, as usual. Their lead rider today is Alvaro Hodeg, who is supported by Davide Martinelli and Florian Senechal. They also have the young talent Remco Evenepoel in the line-up.
Here is the breakaway out on the second time up the Nokere berg.
There are points for the mountains classification (more of a hill classification really) every time the riders cross the finish line. Boucher takes the points on this occasion, ahead of Vergaerde and Journiaux.
As we enter the second half of this race, the peloton has begun to bring the escapees back. From a high of just over seven minutes, the gap has been cut to 6:10.
Away from the racing, the news that Team Sky will become Team Ineos at the beginning of May has dominated the headlines. Our own Patrick Fletcher took a closer look at the team's new sponsor and how it conflicts with the plastic reducing initiative set up by their previous sponsor. Read more about it here.
Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates are heavily present at the front of the peloton at the moment. They are working for Pascal Ackermann and Jasper Philipsen, respectively. Ackermann will be really keen to get the win today, particularly after the recent success of his teammate Sam Bennett at Paris-Nice.
Someone else to look out for today is Matteo Moschetti. The 22-year-old is racing for Trek-Segafredo and is in his first season as a professional. He put in an impressive ride at the UAE Tour last month to finish second behind Caleb Ewan on the uphill finish at Hatta Dam.
The peloton is coming through the finish line again and it continues to be UAE and Bora towards the front. I can also see jerseys from QuickStep and Trek-Segafredo up there.
I'm going to throw out another few names that could be in the mix at the end of the race. They are: Mihkel Raim, Jakub Mareczko, Matteo Pelucchi, Juan Jose Lobato, Timothy Dupont, Adam Blythe, Nacer Bouhanni, Jens Debusschere and Mathieu van der Poel.
Nacer Bouhanni is another rider that is very much in need of a victory. The Frenchman has had a difficult relationship with his team for some time now, and he was thrown out of Tirreno-Adriatico by them last week when he dropped off the back in the team time trial after taking just a few turns on the front. It's highly unlikely that he will stay with the team next season but he will need to get some wins on the board if he wants to attract a new team for 2020.
Mathieu van der Poel will be very interesting to watch at the finish today. Nokere Koerse is Van der Poel's second race on the road this season, after taking the cyclo-cross world title. His first race was the Tour of Antalya, where he won the opening stage.
70km remaining from 195km
Bit by bit, the gap to the escapees is coming down. Cofidis is currently pulling on the front of the bunch with Loic Chetout and the gap now stands at just over four minutes.
Boucher leads the breakaway over the finish line yet again. He looks keen to take this KOM prize.
Boucher has taken the full points at the top of the Nokere berg, giving him 15 points in total.
Deceuninck-QuickStep has a strong team here in Belgium and it seems that they have an enviable line-up wherever they go. The same can be said of their Milan-San Remo squad for the weekend. Julian Alaphilippe and Elia Viviani will lead the team but they will have several potential winners with them in Italy. Read more about it here.
Mattia Viel is struggling a bit on the cobbles, compared to his fellow breakaway companions. He hangs a bike's length behind the others as they cross yet another pave sector.
58km remaining from 195km
Just 3:12 for the breakaway now as QuickStep take up the pace setting in the peloton now. A small chance of success for the break but the peloton looks like they have this well under control.
Roompot also getting into the mix at the front of the peloton. They have Sean De Bie, Lars Boom and Boy van Poppel in their line-up today.
Crash! There are quite a few riders down.
Nathan Haas is one of those that has gone down. He appears to have landed on his front. He's up now but that took some time.
One of the Topsport riders is sitting on the side of the road and appears to be in quite a bit of pain. Let's hope it isn't too serious.
Another crash and a few riders end up in the river at the side of the road.
Owain Doull took a heavy fall and is quite badly scraped up. It looks like it was Doull who touched wheels with a rider that was trying to move over the road and he went down hard.
Jenthe Biermans and Jai Hindley are two more that went down pretty hard and they're getting seen to by the doctors.
The peloton had been split into two following that first crash and the second happened just as the two groups were coming back together.
Team Sunweb confirms that Hindley is on his way to hospital following that crash.
Meanwhile, the breakaway has fractured and we have just three riders up front. They are Boucher, Offredo and Vergaerde. They have 2:22 on the peloton.
Postlberger really pushing hard on the front of the peloton and the bunch is strung out in one long line. Further back, there are some riders chasing back on after that series of crashes.
An attack from Van der Poel.
And a counter attack from Lars Boom.
Boom has been in decent form this spring and he finished fourth at Le Samyn earlier in the month. His gap is pretty small as QuickStep chase.
It's all back together as QuickStep reel in Boom. Van der Poel was brought back and is sitting in the first five wheels in the peloton as we hit another cobbled sector.
The pace and tension is really ramping up, we're coming to the pointy end of proceedings. Le Samyn winner Senechal is on the front of the bunch at the moment.
36km remaining from 195km
All of this action is bad news for the breakaway as the gap drops to 1:17. Meanwhile, Van der Poel has another dig off the front.
Splits forming in the peloton as a result of this pace. A lot of riders in trouble.
The breakaway hit the Nokere berg for the penultimate time and they have less than a minute now. Boucher takes the KOM points and he will just need to finish to take the KOM prize at the end of the day.
31km remaining from 195km
We now have just one more lap and the next time the riders reach the Nokere berg they will be fighting for the victory.
Manuele Mori working on the front now for UAE Team Emirates. The teams have seemed happy to share around the pace setting duties today.
I can see one of the Israel Cycling Academy riders near the front for the first time. They have Mihkel Raim and Sondre Holst Enger as potential contenders today.
Pim Ligthart goes on the attack.
Fun fact, Ligthart won the Isle of Man Youth Tour - my home race - in 2006.
That move doesn't last to long as the peloton isn't too keen to let anyone go. But he's on the attack again now after Van der Poel had a go himself.
25km remaining from 195km
The leaders have just 20 seconds and it won't be long before they're brought back.
Pavel Sivakov getting into the mix with these attacks on the front of the bunch. Team Sky started the day with only five riders and they're down to four after Doull's crash.
The breakaway shakes hands as they get caught by the peloton. One of the Wallonnie Bruxelles riders goes on the attack and Offredo decides that he hasn't had enough and tries to follow them. They're brought back, in the end.
This is Evenepoel's first race as a professional in Belgium and there is a lot of attention on him today.
21km remaining from 195km
The move doesn't quite get its act together and they're brought back. This is just relentless attack followed by attack. Nothing is sticking at this point.
Clement Carisey of Israel Cycling Academy is the next rider to attack but the peloton isn't giving him much rope at the moment. He's just dangling off the front for now.
It is double Clement up front with Clement Russo (Arkea-Samsic) joining Clement Carisey. The only have 10 seconds.
16km remaining from 195km
A small crash in the middle of the bunch. Everybody is up on their feet, now.
With this pair off the front, things have calmed down at the head of the peloton. The bunch seems happy to give these guys a gap as the advantage grows to 29 seconds.
Erik Baska makes it back onto the peloton after getting caught up in one of the earlier crashes. If Ackermann is not in contention at the finish for whatever reason, Baska could do something so Bora-Hansgrohe will be happy to have him back.
12km remaining from 195km
QuickStep have put the hammer down and the advantage that the two leaders built up is demolished. They have just 11 seconds.
The break is neutralised as we hit the cobbles again and now we have Wallonnie Bruxelles on the move again.
As with all of the others, that move is brought back. The pace is splitting up the peloton again.
The attacks keep coming but there is no end of teams that are willing to drag things back. It's going to be hard for someone to get away, but not impossible.
Interesing, Nippo Vini Fantini come to the front. They have been keeping a very low profile today.
As I mentioned earlier, Nippo Vini Fantini have Juan Jose Lobato as a potential contender for victory and Marco Canola.
Another crash in the peloton. This has been a very nervous race. The incident happened as a few riders overcooked a corner.
6km remaining from 195km
The cobbled sectors come thick and fast in this final 10km. Each injection of pace is trimming down the size of the peloton but there are still a lot of fast men in there.
Canola goes on the attacks and tries to ride in the gutter but he clips the curb and crashes.
He looks ok, but he won't be contesting the finish. It's just Lobato now for the Italian team.
4km remaining from 195km
Attack from Lars Boom
Boom takes Serry with them but CCC Team shut it down.
Evenepoel is more of a GC rider and he's struggling a little bit in the final kilometres of this stage. He's distanced slightly from the peloton.
2km remaining from 195km
We have a short truce, but that will not last long.
CCC Team had one rider near the front but they now have almost their whole team pushing up front. They're working for Mareczko.
Still around 50 or 60 riders in this main group. Lots of jostling for position between the sprint teams.
Sunweb leading the way.
Now just around 30 riders in the front group.
Van der Poel crashes
Ackermann leads the sprint
Walscheid takes it, though.
That is Team Sunweb's first win of the season.
Apologies, it was actually Cees Bol who took the win.
Meanwhile, it appears to be a serious accident for Van der Poel. He hit the deck pretty hard when they reached the cobbles and he's not getting up.
It looks like Walscheid was involved in that Van der Poel crash. He's currently walking up the final climb and with his bike. His front wheel is in ruins.
A replay shows Walscheid was one of the first to go down. He went off to the left side of the road and Van der Poel was sent to the right. Van der Poel was then hit by a rider behind, compounding the crash.
Trek-Segafredo's Moschetti was also caught up in that.
Meanwhile, Cees Bol did a fantastic job in that sprint to beat Ackermann by quite some margin. Bol is just 23 and this is his first season as a professional.
Van der Poel is being put into the back of an ambulance. Let's hope it isn't too serious. There is also a rider from Tarteletto-Isorex that looks in pretty bad shape and he too will be taken by the ambulance. We'll bring you news as soon as we can get it.
Moschetti is also still on the ground. However, he is sitting up and seems the least badly affected of the three still down.
This is what Pascal Ackermann had to say about the finish.
"It was a super hard race today. I was a bit early in the sprint maybe and I lost a bit of power in the end. I’m lucky I was the second guy and he was just stronger today. Congrats to him.
"We stayed the whole day in front, I had a super strong team and we were lucky [we weren’t in the crashes] today."
Here is confirmation of the top 10 at the finish.
1 Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb
2 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
4 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
5 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
7 Justin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles
8 Bram Welten (Ned) Arkéa Samsic
9 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10 Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
Here is today's winner.
You can find our report of today's action, along with photos and results, here.
That is it from our live coverage today. Thank you for joining us.
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