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Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. It's another chilly morning in Belgium, the CN blimp is charging up, and we're set for another day of racing and the conclusion from Opening Weekend.

Ahead of the riders, we have 12 climbs, and 197km of racing but typically this race suits the sprinters and often teams draft in fresh legs after Omloop. Perhaps today will be different after yesterday ended in a sprint, with the Classics specialists looking to make up for a lost opportunity after Davide Ballerini took the victory. You can read all about that, right here.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The official start is in about an hour from now and we're just seeing the first team busses arrive. There's Ineos, and Groupama not far behind. You can usually tell where the Deceuninck-QuickStep bus is because it typically draws the biggest crowd but not today, as there are very few people around due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Kuurne starts at this really old race track. It's run down and smells of feet (a metaphor for my life?) but has a real charm to it. Usually it's packed at this point in the morning and the beers are already flowing but today things are a bit more subdued. 

Big favourite for today is Demare. He didn't race yesterday but was arguably the best sprinter of 2020 (who didn't race the Tour). He was unstoppable after lockdown and today a great course for him and his train. Here's what he's had to say this morning:

"I am happy to return to these Classics. It's a race where you have to be at 100%. I have some random sensations at the moment, I hope that the trend will be good for tomorrow. In any case, I have envy, I like it. It's always a difficult race to go and win, there are cobblestones, breakaways that can be created. I have already done 4th and 2nd, the sprint is hard because you have to keep your strength. It is a race of movement and I like it. On a collective level, we have some riders who have found each other well last year for the Classics, I can't wait to see what it will be like 6 months later."

Demare's DS today is Guesdon who won Paris-Roubaix for Marc Madiot's team back in 1997 with one of the biggest upsets the race had ever seen. It was arguably bigger than Hayman's win given that no-one looked Guesdon as a potential winner when the winning group entered the velodrome. All eyes were on Mapei and the rest but Guesdon came from the back of the group. That win, coupled with David Duffield's commentary still gives me goosebumps. Check it out on Youtube if you have a couple of minutes. Anyway.... here's what Guesdon has to say about today:

"Arnaud Démare makes his comeback in competition after the Tour de la Provence, he needs to ride before Paris-Nice, so maybe he will be a little bit short but he likes this kind of event, he is hyper motivated. We have a solid group well adapted to the course. If the race gets tougher, Stefan Küng will have a good card to play, but if the finish is grouped together, Arnaud has good chances for victory."

Major favourites for today are also this lot. We're just waiting to see if Lampaert and Stybar are racing after their crashes yesterday.

1Kasper Asgreen (Den)
2Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col)
3Stijn Steels (Bel)
4Yves Lampaert (Bel)
5Jannik Steimle (Ger)
6Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
7Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel)

A team that will be desperate for a result will be Trek-Segafredo. They missed all the key moves yesterday and their best finisher was 63rd - not the result that the defending champions will have wanted or expected. They've got to step up today and at least race on the front foot.

Please let me draw your attention to this piece from Kirsten Frattini, which expertly analyses the women's race yesterday. Well worth a read over your morning coffee.


5 conclusions from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite Women

Dutch Anna van der Breggen of Team SD Worx celebrates on the podium after winning the womens elite race of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad oneday cycling race 124km from Gent to Ninove Saturday 27 February 2021 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Agree with these ratings from Sporza in terms of today's favourites?

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Mathieu van der Poel has to a major favourite today. He won the opening stage in the UAE Tour, was forced to come home due a COVID case in his team but is ready to race today. He can beat any sprinter here, and then can attack over the climbs too. He'll want to put in a huge performance today after missing out the chance to add to his tally in the middle east.

Watch out for Kirstoff too because he looked super fresh yesterday but then saw his race fall apart, literally, with a late mechanical. The winner of Gent-Wevelgem a couple of years ago, and a Monument winner - he'll be determined to win today.

Here's a story about him that our man on the ground, Brecht Decaluwe, sent in overnight. 

Little known fact, but Kristoff is a huge Eastbound & Down fan. Can almost imagine him listening to Kenny Powers motivation tapes in the team bus right now. 

Omloop 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We're about 35 minutes away from the official start and riders are just signing on. Time for one last coffee.

Here's our complete start list for today's race (from last night so subject to small changes today.

'For now I'm going to sit back and bank on the sprint. We'll see how I feel during the race to see if more is possible.'

Demare

(Image credit: Brecht Decaluwe)

In the mayhem at yesterday's finish it was almost lost that Heinrich Haussler took fourth in the sprint. He wasn't meant to be the leader for Bahrain but they lost Colbrelli to crashes but the Australian rolled back the years to take morale boosting result. He's 36 now but still utterly loves racing - as shown by his cyclo-cross antics over the last couple of months. Let's see what the veteran Australian can do today. 

Bahrain McLaren’s Heinrich Haussler leads the way at the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Brecht Decaluwe has tracked down a rider who wasn't meant to be originally start today:

Sep Vanmarcke takes the start, unexpectedly. "There was one spot left in the team. These are Flemish races, my races. I'll try not to spend too much energy. I have to stay fresh for Samyn and Paris-Nice. Much depends on how early MvdP opens the debates. I haven't looked at the startlist really. The feedback after the Omloop was good. People seem to grant me the success. I was never gone but it was good to see that I'm still capable of a finale."

Vanmarcke, like Haussler, is a veteran rolling around in a young man's peloton but he put in a timely reminder of his experience and class on the bike yesterday. Here's a story about the ISN rider.

We're about 15 minutes away from the official start and riders are beginning to roll out of their team busses and head to the start area. 

Away from here, Adam Yates took second in the UAE Tour. He was taken to hospital last night after a fall but the injuries appeared to be superficial. Here's our latest on the Ineos rider.

And remember you can stream today's race if you set up a VPN. Just head on over this page to find out more. 

Jasper Stuyven: "Yesterday wasn't good. I'm the first to admit that. We have no explanation. We have to switch the button and look to the future. That is Kuurne. We'll do what we can to come out of this weekend with good spirits. I've got family and friends here and good performances in the past. I'm motivated but surely I was motivated to perform well with race number 1 in the Omloop too."

Perfect blue skies greeting the riders on the start line this morning. It's absolute bliss and a sea of colour as the peloton gather for the final race of Opening Weekend.

Happy birthday to a pioneering site that was fighting for women's race coverage long before so many other titles. 

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This image can live in my head rent free.

Kuurne

(Image credit: Brecht Decaluwe)

And we're up and running. The riders have rolled off from the line and ahead of them 3km of a neutralized zone before the flag drops and we're officially racing.

The Tiegemberg is a new climb on the route and comes at 14km of racing. It's only about 1,400m in length but could be a great launchpad for an attack. 

Volkegemberg comes next at around 34km, and then the Boembeek at 56km of racing. The final climb comes with the Kluisberg but there's still around 50km to go from that point to the finish - hence why the sprinters hold all the good cards on a course like this. Still, it's early in the season and surprises do happen. Asgreen won last year, for example. Never take your eyes off a race in Belgium, because you're always liable to miss something.

We managed to get a quick word with van der Poel at the start:

"I'm glad that we were able to travel away quite easily and our team can race this weekend. I'm here because it's a little bit less stress, less favourites. It's easier to get into the rhythm."

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No real action just yet but we've seen Dillier have a bike change. 

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14km covered and we're still waiting for a serious break to form. 

Diiller has made it back to the peloton after his bike change and we'll be on the Tiegemberg soon. Will be see the day's break form on the first climb of the day?

180km

180km to go and we have a four man attack off the front. Bodnar, Gamper, De Winter and Zacharov. 

That's a tasty little quartet, with a Tour de France stage winner and three decent domestiques thrown in for good measure but no time checks at this point.

35 seconds for the leaders and it looks like that gap is about to expand rapidly as the peloton sits up. They're not at all interested in chasing this one down.

172km to go

We've got two chasers and then the peloton at a whopping 3'35.

 The four leaders are:

Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe)

De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

Zacharov (Astana)

No Sagan for Bora and they weren't in the mix yesterday so they clearly want to make a strong impression today.

Tom Paquot and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg are the two chasers at 35 seconds behind the leading quartet. They should make it. That would give us a strong group of six as we get deeper into the race. 

The two chasers are still at 35 seconds but the bunch have drifted to 5'10. The four leaders should ease, just slightly, and then they'll have another two helpers for the rest of the race. 

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Read about Jake Stewart, right here.

168km to go

The two lead groups form and now we do indeed have six riders in the break:

Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe)

De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

Zacharov (Astana)

Paquot (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles)

Hvideberg (Uno)

Bodnar won his TT stage in the 2017 Tour de France when he won the Marseille TT. He was also the Bora rider who went with Sagan, and Froome when they basically rode away from an entire peloton on the road to Montpellier in 2016. That stage was simply nuts but now 35 he's settled more into the role of a road captain and Classics domestiques. 

Patrick Gamper hasn't started the Tour yet but at 24 has plenty of time. He moved up from the Continental ranks at the start of 2020 and looks like a bit of an all-rounder who can TT and sprint a bit. This is good experience for him and Bodnar will lend him experience today when it comes to managing his efforts. 

Artyom Zakharov has been WT since 2016. He's been a national champion before (2017). I can't even find him on Instagram so I've no idea if he's a cat or dog person. Swipes left. 


Ludwig De Winter hasn't raced since a DNF in Flanders last year but the 28-year-old is putting in a good account of himself today.

Jonas Iversby Hvideberg is the youngest in the break at just 22 and he's the U23 European road champion. Outside of cycling he likes fishing. 

Correction, Tom Paquot is the baby of the group at just 21. 

A reminder of our riders in the break

Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe)

De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

Zakharov (Astana-Premier Tech)

Paquot (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles)

Hvideberg (Uno)

160km to go

160km to go and the break is at 6'10. The Boembeek climb is up next at 56km of racing. 

Thanks to some excellent undercover work from someone who can use technology properly we've found Zakharov on Instagram. I can confirm he's a dog AND a cat person. Scenes! 

The gap to the six leaders is down to 5'10 so the chase is just keeping the leaders in check at the moment. 

42kph for the first hour of racing.

150km to go and the race has settled somewhat, with the leaders holding a five minute lead over the peloton. 

It's UAE Team Emirates who currently control the pace of the peloton as they look after the interests of Alexander Kristoff. 

John Degenkolb is name we've not mentioned but he was second in Gent-Wevelgem a couple years ago, behind Kristoff, and is another potential contender for today. He didn't race yesterday so will be fresh too.

Bryan Coquard is near the front of the pack too and he's another sprinter to keep an eye on. He was just too far back in the sprint yesterday and ended up with 16th but he's had a good start to the season, despite not picking up a win yet.

Closing is on the Boembeek climb, the third ascent of the race today.

It's still UAE Team Emirates who are driving the pace on the front of the peloton with no sign of the other sprint teams - we're looking at you Groupama - anywhere near the front. Still a long way to go though with 138km left on the board.

A small split in the bunch sees about 15-20 riders slip off the back. They should be able to make it back though. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep finally show their colours and move to the head of affairs to help UAE Team Emirates with the chase. 131km to go.

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We have a small section of cobbles coming up and then it's climb number four of the day - the Bossenaarstraat, which has a max gradient of 9 per cent.

120km to go

6'05 for the six leaders, despite the added interest from Patrick Lefevere's men at the front of the peloton.

It will be fascinating to see when the teams that don't have sprinters, try and break the race apart. Perhaps the Kruisberg with 116km to go and the cluster of climbs shortly after will be the ideal place.

A crash in the main field and a rider from DSM is down on the ground.

113km to go, so closing in on the half-way point in the race. The six leaders have a shade under six minutes on the peloton.

We've been over Mont Saint-Laurent and the next one is La Houppe. 108km to go.

Oliviero Troia has done his job for the day for UAE Team Emirates and peels off. That's one less rider for Kristoff but their game plan is working as we see Ineos wake up and start to move towards the front of the peloton.

It's a bit of a slow burner but this race is starting to come alive as we get closer to the more important climbs. We're still on for a sprint finish at this rate but if the right moves goes clear that could turn the race on its head.

Deceuninck-Quick Step with a few more jerseys towards the front now and that's a clear indication that the pace is about to increase. 

A reminder that we have these 5 conclusions from yesterday's Omloop and the women's race.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While you can read our full men's report from yesterday, right here.

101km to go an the gap is starting to come down. It's at 5'15 now so the pressure is starting to tell. 

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98km to go

98km to go and a reminder of our riders in the break:

Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe)

De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

Zakharov (Astana-Premier Tech)

Paquot (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles)

Hvideberg (Uno)

A few more seconds are chipped off the lead and the gap is down to 4'50.

We've got the Kanarieberg coming up next. 1km in length and maximum gradient of 14 per cent.

Alpecin Fenix have hit the front, with van der Poel likely to try and break up the race on the upcoming climbs. 

You 83km to go and the gap is down to 3'39. 

83km to go and Van der Poel has attacked alongside Jhonatan Narvaez. And they have a gap.

It was van der Poel who went first and Jhonatan Narvaez was the first to react. 

The riders in the break, their heads will drop now that they know van der Poel has attacked so far out because that's just going to lead to a huge chase. Van der Poel and Narvaez have 24 seconds with 81km to go.

Meanwhile the break have hit the bottom of the Kruisberg with 81km to go.

And Campenaerts has attacked from the bunch too. 

Narvaez and van der Poel now have 30 seconds as the leading six rider continue to climb the Kruisberg.

Van der Poel is about to reach the Kruisberg. Will he push on? He's already got about 40 seconds.

Narvaez is no pushover but he just needs to hold on over this climb.

It looks like van der Poel has a mechanical and Narvaez leads.

Van der Poel can't get assistance until the gap goes out to over a minute. He's almost there as he and Narvaez make it over the cobbled climb. 79km to go.

Back onto the flat and the Narvaez and van der Poel continue to share the workload. 50 seconds for them as they share a few words and the Dutch rider takes a long pull. It's QuickStep who are leading the chase.

57  seconds for this very dangerous duo, especially if they can link up with Bodnar an d company on the next few climbs. 

It looks like Campenaerts is about to be caught. He would have been so useful in that move with van der Poel. 

45 seconds for van der Poel and Narvaez, with the gap coming down on these long, straight sections of road.

The break hit the next climb, the Cote du Trieu.

No 

No panic from QuickStep as we see a few more teams move up, including B&B and Bora. Trek are there too.

Van der Poel is using the climbs to extend the lead and it's back out to almost a minute.

The bunch are on the climb and the just fight for position and then ease up once they're safe. That gives van der Poel the chance to build on his lead. He has one full minute now. 

ISN have sent a rider up the road as we see van der Poel and Narvaez build up an advantage of 1'12.

Jenthe Biermans is the rider from ISN.

We've got the Oude Kwaremont coming up but the race for positioning in the bunch already started. 68km to go.

Narvaez and van der Poel are just 53 seconds down on the early break, with the bunch at 2'17.

QuickStep are drilling the pace on the front of the bunch and it looks like Demare has been distanced. He has Kung with him but that's  huge concern for FDJ at this point. 66km to go.

Demare should be okay, it looks like they're coming back. 

Almost 1'30 for Narvaez and van der Poel.

Lotto Soudal and Bora head the peloton as we race towards the Oude Kwaremont.

Nice riding from Boaro who hits the front of the peloton. 

Van der Poel and Narvaez will make contact on this climb. 63km to go.  

Van der Poel hits the front and he's powering up the famous ascent and Narvaez is holding on.

The chasing pair can see the break ahead of them, the catch will be made before the summit.

The climb is about to kick up for a second time. 1'40 for the two breakaway riders over the peloton.

Stuyven puts the hammer down with 62km to go.

And now Asgreen takes over and the bunch is split all over the road. 

De Winter is leading the race solo at the moment but van der Poel and Narvaez have caught the rest of the break with the gap at 1'37.

Degenkolb is with Asgreen and they have a gap, as Stuyven begins to suffer.

The bunch are all over the road with Pedersen, Durbrigde in trouble. Trentin has closed the gap to Asgreen and Degenkolb and brought a bunch of riders with him. Benoot is there, Naesen, Stuyven, GVA, and about 15 riders.

De Winter has been caught so the early break with Narvaez and van der Poel have 1'10 over the peloton with 56km to go.

There are about 20 riders in the Degenkolb/Trentin/Asgreen group and they're closing in on van der Poel with the gap at 1'05.

And now we're onto the Kluisberg and van der Poel pushes again.

Only Narvaez and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg can hang on as we see Degenkolb attack with 54km to go. The German has been really aggressive before we see Teuns go over the top.

The three leaders, van der Poel, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Narvaez have 47 seconds on the chase with 52km to go.

Gamper and Zakharov make it back, so we've got five leaders now. 

Teuns has been caught as Asgreen and Van Avermaet share turns. 

Clément Russo overcooks it on a corner but just manages to stay up. He needs assistance from the mechanics though as up ahead van der Poel takes another long turn with the gap at 46 seconds.

No Demare or Kristoff in the chase group, from what I can see.

No more climbs on the route from now until the finish but we still have some cobbles to come. Pidcock is in the second group as we see Degenkolb trying to get everyone to contribute. 

Coquard is also in the chase group with the gap holding at 42 seconds. No time check to the main field though but we've still got a long way to go.

It's still in the balance because the main field are only at 1'31 with 37km to go. 

Stuyven, Degenkolb and the rest of this second group have to throw everything into this because the bunch can see them in the distance.

The main field though is splintering through because of cross-winds and this will just help the five leaders up the road. 

The peloton are all over the place with about 4-5 group as up the road the five leaders hit a sector of cobbles. They have 49 seconds over the GVA/Stuyven/Degenkolb group.

And now Trentin accelerates on the cobbles and this is a huge acceleration. Teuns and Asgreen follow but that has lined everything out.

Trentin has pulled clear with Teuns, Van Avermaet, and Asgreen with 34km to go.

This has cut the lead for the van der Poel group to just 35 seconds.

The Trentin move has been shut down but the pace remains really, really high and the gap is just 30 seconds. 

Trentin accelerates once more and that takes a few more seconds off the leaders' advantage. Politt is there but he's not taking a turn as he has a teammate up the road. 

Van der Poel is being forced to do almost all of the work right now and the gap is down to 21 seconds. 

Søren Kragh Andersen is in the Van Avermaet group too and he was on the podium last year. He's got a good finish on him too. 

31 seconds for van der Poel, Narvaez, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg, Gamper and Zakharov.

Back in the bunch and Bahrain are chasing for Colbrelli. 

At this point it looks like Demare and Kristoff are out of it. 

Lotto Soudal, AG2R both have two riders in the chase group and they're starting to combine. 

Pedersen is in the Heinrich Haussler group, which is at 53 seconds. 

The van der Poel group has 23 seconds with 23km to go. 

Assos have numbers in that third group too that includes Colbrelli and Pedersen but they're still at 53 seconds. 

The van der Poel group have found a few more seconds and the gap is out to 30 seconds and it looks like the Pedersen/Colbrelli group are going to catch Trentin and company.

The second group are trying to attack each other, which isn't the best tactic at the moment. 

Our five leaders: van der Poel, Narvaez, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg, Gamper and Zakharov.

Mads Pedersen is slowly but surely becoming a contender again in this race.

The key moment will come when groups 2 and 3 merge. Who will work?

Frison isn't happy and gives out to riders on his wheel and with 18km to go groups 2 and 3 about about to merge. 

And Van Avermaet accelerates just before the catch is made. 

The gap between groups 2 and 3 is still at 5 seconds. 

Zakharov hasn't done a turn in a long time. He rides on the track though... so might have a good finish. 

We're about to hit the finish line for the first time and we've 16km to go.

Van Avermaet's acceleration has distanced the third group and brought the van der Poel selection to within less than 15 seconds.

Van der Poel takes a huge pull on the front of the lead group but their gap is under 10 seconds with 14km to go.

He looks back, he can see the chase group are closing fast.

That third group are closing again there's probably about three groups separated by about 20 seconds with 12km to go. This is tense.

Van der Poel is taking longer and longer pulls. 

11.7km to go and groups 2 and 3 have merged.

Just 9 seconds for the leaders with 10.9km to go. 

It's still up to Bahrain to lead this chase as they have the numbers and the sprinter in Colbrelli. 15 seconds now!

Now it's 16 seconds. The gap is only going up.

Zakharov is riding now too.

Lotto put the hammer down and lead the chase as Teuns then takes a long pull on the front but the gap is holding at 15 seconds. 

Pedersen is just lurking on Stuyven's wheel. 

17 seconds. It's a decent gap, still but Bahrain get to work. What will Asgreen do? 

18 seconds, the gap continues to grow.

7.5km to go and the gap is at 22 seconds. 

Teuns is burying himself but he's not able to eat into the break's advantage. Here comes Lotto and Assos. 

If a rider wants to bridge up they need the gap to be around 10 seconds.

Complete commitment from every rider in the break now with 5.9km to go. 17 seconds is the gap.

Van der Poel, Narvaez, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg, Gamper and Zakharov have 18 seconds. 

They've got 20 seconds and the gap isn't coming down because only Teuns and Frison are working. 

Assos move up and take over. 18 seconds with 4.1km to go. This is going to be so, so close. Kung takes over. 

Asgreen attacks with 3.7km to go.

Haussler on his wheel.

3.3km to go and the gap is at 15 seconds. Flat for Coquard.

They're going to catch them! The gap is less than 10 seconds. 

Zakharov is shaking his head.

The gap is 100m with 2.1km to go.

Asgreen is burying himself for the chase.

1.7km and the catch is made.

Andersen attacks. Haussler follows.

1.3km to go.

Andersen again. 

Last corner navigated. 

Styuven leads out Pedersen. 

Pedersen opens up his sprint with 175m to go.

Mads Pedersen wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2021.

What a sprint from the Dane, what a comeback from Trek-Segafredo after yesterday. That's a huge win for them. 

This what Pedersen told us on Friday:

“I also learned that you can’t just rely on horsepower in the Classics. You have to use your head,” said Pedersen. “In the past, I didn’t always do that and it’s time to learn from those mistakes. I started to learn a bit last year and it worked in Gent-Wevelgem and it’s about keeping that going. You can’t just go balls-out at every chance because having the spare power at the end of races is really important.”

It was a pretty straight forward sprint after the final corner, and an excellent lead out from Stuyven. 

Turgis was second and Pidcock third.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
2Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
3Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
4Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
6Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
7Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
9Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

Best race of the season so far? Probably. 

Here's our story on Pidcock's performance.

Lets hear from van der Poel:

“I didn’t really have a clean line in the sprint but for sure if you ride 80km already there are going to be some fast guys who are coming from behind. So it’s not that I’m disappointed that I don’t sprint anymore.”

Van der Poel’s next outing will come at Le Samyn on March 2 before he heads to Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. When asked if he thought that his recent form would set him up for the major one-day races that lay ahead, he responded: “I hope so. I like to race attractively and I enjoyed myself today.”

Finally we have a quote from today's winner:

“I’m super happy. It’s a classic,” Pedersen said in the post-race flash interview. “I like to race in Belgium. I like the cobbles. Normally the atmosphere is better with all the spectators here. It’s nice to follow up on the Danish win from Kasper.”

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