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BMC's Greg Van Avermaet followed up his 2016 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad win with a successful title defense in 2017. The 30-year-old Belgian showed both strong early-season form and a savvy racing sense en route to his second victory in the 197-km semi-Classic, upgraded to the WorldTour this year. Making his way safely through the early goings and a hectic few kilometres midway through the race, he found himself in a select trio with world champ Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) and outsprinted both to take the win in Ghent.
A crash on the Donderij cobbles knocked several contenders, including Quick-Step's Tom Boonen, out of the race. Those who escaped the carnage had little time to take a breath, however, with a flurry of attacks breaking up the bunch in the following kilometres.
Van Avermaet stayed near the front of the action with every big move, riding in Sagan's wheel as the Slovakian put in multiple digs and shed several riders from the second group on the road, which began to close down the day's main breakaway.
After the catch was made, Van Avermaet, Sagan and Vanmarcke jumped clear to form a new lead selection. A group of pursuers formed in their wake, but after building an advantage of half a minute, the trio barely yielded a second of their advantage despite the best efforts of the chasers. When it became clear the three out front would fight for the win amongst themselves, the pursuit allowed the gap to grow to nearly a minute.
All three riders decided to bet on a sprint into Ghent. Vanmarcke launched first, but Van Avermaet jumped around his compatriot and held off Sagan to nab the win.
Click here for the full report and results from the 2017 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
2017 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team||4:55:06|
|2||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|3||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac|
|4||Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:45|
|5||Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:00:52|
|6||Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky|
|7||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale|
|8||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|9||Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors||0:00:56|
|10||Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie||0:00:58|
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite 201725 February 2017 | Belgium | WorldTour
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