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Sagan wins De Brabantse Pijl

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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) out sprints Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) out sprints Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) gives Maja Leye some flowers

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) gives Maja Leye some flowers (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stijn Devolder (RadioShack - Leopard)

Stijn Devolder (RadioShack - Leopard) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) keeps his hands free on the podium

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) keeps his hands free on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dennis Vanendert (Lotto Belisol)

Dennis Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) triumphs in De Brabantse Pijl

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) triumphs in De Brabantse Pijl (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Simon Geschke (Argos - Shimano) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates his win

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates his win (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) leads Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) leads Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The top three riders open their champagne

The top three riders open their champagne (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Podium: Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) out sprints Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) out sprints Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) after winning stage 1 of VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) after winning stage 1 of VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM)

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM)

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) opens his champagne

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) opens his champagne (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The podium: Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans

The podium: Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard)

Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM)

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Davide Malacarne (Europcar)

Davide Malacarne (Europcar) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The podium: Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans

The podium: Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins De Brabantse Pijl

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins De Brabantse Pijl (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates victory at De Brabantse Pijl

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates victory at De Brabantse Pijl (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) presents flowers to say he's sorry for pinching this podium girl's behind

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) presents flowers to say he's sorry for pinching this podium girl's behind (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) presents flowers to say he's sorry for pinching this podium girl's behind

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) presents flowers to say he's sorry for pinching this podium girl's behind (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) before the start

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) before the start (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beats Philippe Gilbert (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins De Brabantse Pijl

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins De Brabantse Pijl (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Jerome Pineau attacks.

Jerome Pineau attacks. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Returning to racing after his podium result at the Tour of Flanders, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has won De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne in a two-man sprint against world champion and 2011 Brabantse Pijl winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), part of the three-man group which emerged from an 11-rider break on the day's final climb in the closing kilometre, had nothing left to sprint with and crossed the line for third place at four seconds.

The race-winning 11-man break came together midway through the final 23.4km finishing circuit as a six-man lead group containing Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard), Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) was joined by a five-rider chase group comprised of Sagan, Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano).

The finishing circuit's fifth and final climb, the Schavei, inside the last kilometre, would be the launch pad from which Sagan, Gilbert and Leukemans would emerge at the fore to contest the sprint. Van Avermaet and Maes had attacked the lead group prior to the ascent and held a slim advantage as the climb started, but Sagan led the chase and had the strength to launch an attack of his own as he caught and passed both Maes and then Van Avermaet.

Gilbert and Leukemans were able to mark Sagan's surge, but the Slovakian champion had enough left in the tank to dispatch of his rivals in the kick to the finish line in Overijse.

"The final was the most difficult part of the race" said Sagan. "I was in a minority situation compared to Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC, and all the riders left to me the responsibility to stop the attacks. I found a good chance on the last climb. I let it rip to close the gap on Van Avermaet and to leave behind as many riders as possible. It was a big effort.

"In the final straight we were against the wind and Gilbert was just behind me. I thought to do a short sprint but his attack anticipated my plan. At that point I had only to follow him and try to pass: I'm really happy to have done it."

Gilbert kept close tabs on Sagan in the finale and with the benefit of a teammate in Van Avermaet he had assistance in putting Sagan under duress, but Sagan proved too strong, denying Gilbert his first win of the 2013 season.

"I was confident for the sprint because I was already on his wheel the last five kilometres and I was very focused," Gilbert said. "It was so close.

"It is always better to win, but we did a great race and we played our cards in the final. It also gives a lot of confidence to the team and to myself as well. But it's always better to win, for sure."

An early break and animated finishing circuits

Dehaes and Maes were also part of the day's early break, formed at just 46km in. They were away with Ben Hermans (RadioShack Leopard), Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) and Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare). The six-man group reached a maximum advantage in excess of four minutes, but stabilised at approximately 3:30.

The break made it onto the 23.4km finishing circuit, to be negotiated three times, and on the first lap of the circuit Reguigui was the first casualty of the break, dropped and absorbed by the peloton which trailed by just one minute.

With 50km to go Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard) jumped away from the peloton and after a spirited 7km pursuit he made contact with the leaders. While Devolder was chasing solo, three more riders attacked the peloton, Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura), and this trio, too, managed to cross the gap to the break.

On the penultimate finishing circuit, with 41km remaining, 2011 De Brabantse Pijl champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had a rear flat and a slow change, first attempted by a teammate and then completed by a team mechanic. Gilbert didn't have any teammates to assist in his chase back, but the world champion surfed through the caravan and eventually regained contact, just as pre-race favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) experienced his own mechanical difficulties and had to stop for a bike change.

Near the end of the penultimate finishing circuit the break was reduced to just six riders - Maes, Dehaes, Leukemans, Devolder, Voss and Malacarne - as Devolder pushed the pace.

Entering the final 23.4km circuit the six leaders led the peloton by 41 seconds and soon afterwards Team Argos-Shimano came to the front of the field in force with five riders to try to cut into the break's advantage. Despite the show of force, the six leaders continued to hold the peloton at approximately 35-40 seconds.

The race's decisive action kicked off on the final ascent of the Hertstraat, the second of five hellingen on the finishing circuit, as Greg Van Avermaet attacked the peloton with teammate Philippe Gilbert in tow. Sensing danger, Peter Sagan immediately marked the escape and the trio were soon joined by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano) to form a five-rider chase group).

With 12km remaining, the five chasers made contact with the six leaders to form an 11-rider front group.

Defending champion Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) attacked and splintered the peloton in an attempt to bridge to the leaders, but with 9km remaining his chase group was absorbed by a re-grouped peloton and trailed the 11 leaders by 25 seconds. The deficit to the 11 leaders would steadily inch up in the closing kilometres and it became clear that the 2013 De Brabantse Pijl champion would come from that group.

Two kilometres from the finish Van Avermaet and Maes jumped away from the lead group and held a slim advantage onto the circuit's final climb, the Schavei, with Sagan leading the chase.

Van Avermaet dropped Maes on the climb, but Sagan continued his charge, passing first Maes and then Van Avermaet in the push to the finish line. Gilbert and Leukemans were the only riders to respond and soon after making contact Gilbert led out the sprint. Leukemans had nothing left and didn't respond, while Sagan came around Gilbert in the closing metres to add De Brabantse Pijl to his ever-increasing palmares.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling4:45:05
2Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:04
4Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:09
5Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
6Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:11
7Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar0:00:17
8Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:00:19
9Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:00:22
10Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:25
11Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:28
12Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:54
13Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard0:00:57
14Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
15Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
16Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
17Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
18Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
19Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
20Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
21Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
22Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
23Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
24Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
25Francois Parisien (Can) Team Argos-Shimano
26Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura
27Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
28Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
29Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team0:01:03
30Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar
31Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-Endura
32Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
33Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano
34Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:01:06
35Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
36David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura
37Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
38Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
39Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony
40Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
41Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
42Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
43Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
44Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha
45Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
46Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
47Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
48Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:14
49Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:16
50Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
51Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
52Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
53Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
54Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
55Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
56Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
57Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
58Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack Leopard
59Fabio Taborre (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:01:31
60Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:02:17
61Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
62Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:29
63Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
64Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling0:04:22
65Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
66Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka0:05:06
67Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:05:09
68Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:05:18
69Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
70Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
71Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling
72Sergey Klimov (Rus) RusVelo0:05:26
73Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol
74Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
75Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
76Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
77Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol
78Arthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
79Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
80Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo
81Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
82Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM Cycling
83Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
84Will Routley (Can) Accent Jobs-Wanty
85Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
86Alexander Rybakov (Rus) RusVelo
87Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
88Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol
89Stefano Borchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
90Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
91Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
92Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
93Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling0:08:13
94Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
95Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto Belisol
96Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
97Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling
98Stefano Agostini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
99Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
100Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Cannondale Pro Cycling
101Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling
102Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
103Chad Beyer (USA) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
104Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
105Christophe Prémont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
106Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
107Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
108Jonathan Mcevoy (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura
109Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty
110Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo
111Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
112Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:08:29
113Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:11:49
114Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
115Ryan Roth (Can) Champion System Pro Cycling Team

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