Fabio Jakobsen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) raised his arms in victory for the first time since becoming the 2022 European Champion last month. The Dutch rider didn't need a bike throw to deny Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) but wasn't taking any chances after coming up rapidly along the barriers to snatch the victory.
Ewan hit out first in the frantic, technical finale but Jakobsen timed his powerful surge perfectly into the headwind.
"You want to win the jersey and ride in it for a year, but you also want to win in the jersey with QuickStep on the chest. I'm proud to finish it off and it's an honour to wear the jersey and to win in it makes a perfect day," Jakobsen said.
Ewan said he felt good and the team did a good job ensuring he was in the front but he ended up on the front too early.
"It was a sprint I didn't really want to lead out because of the block headwind, but I was in a position where I had to so I just went and Fabio was quicker than me," Ewan said.
Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) finished third, and emphasized the WorldTour points battle's influence on his late-season schedule.
"Third place is good. I didn't have the legs in the end. I thought with 300 metres from the finish line that I didn't stand a chance. When Fabio started his sprint I just followed in his slipstream but didn't have the legs. I couldn't change gears, I had to finish the race on a broken bike but the legs weren't there.
"I'm racing more here in Belgium - I've been on the podium and I've won this race before. There are always different scenarios. I'm continuing this weekend and going on all the way to the last race of the season. The (WorldTour) points system is just horrible but we are doing what we can and it's up to me to get as many points as I possibly can."
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