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Cancellara wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders

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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) found time to drop back to the team car

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) found time to drop back to the team car
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A couple of former British champions, Wiggins and Thomas

A couple of former British champions, Wiggins and Thomas
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Thomas' face clearly shows the aftermath of an earlier crash

Thomas' face clearly shows the aftermath of an earlier crash
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Robert Wagner (Belkin) tries to untangle his bike

Robert Wagner (Belkin) tries to untangle his bike
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Johnny Hoogerland (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela)

Johnny Hoogerland (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Johan le Bon (FDJ) was one of may riders to hit the tarmac

Johan le Bon (FDJ) was one of may riders to hit the tarmac
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bananas for Omega Pharma Quick Step

Bananas for Omega Pharma Quick Step
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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David Millar has a new pair of shoes for every race this year in his final season

David Millar has a new pair of shoes for every race this year in his final season
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The early break

The early break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin Sharp) drives the pace

Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin Sharp) drives the pace
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Luca Paolini (Katusha) out in front

Luca Paolini (Katusha) out in front
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC) off the front

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) off the front
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) celebrates his victory

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) celebrates his victory
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg van Avermaet (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicki Sorenson (Tinkoff Saxo)

Nicki Sorenson (Tinkoff Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol)

Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) with a cap and aero helmet

Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) with a cap and aero helmet
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)

Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Taylor Phinney (BMC) leads the break

Taylor Phinney (BMC) leads the break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Guess where

Guess where
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders on the approach to the Oude Kwaremont

Riders on the approach to the Oude Kwaremont
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A flying bicycle...

A flying bicycle...
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins was a super domestique for Team Sky today

Bradley Wiggins was a super domestique for Team Sky today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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David Millar's (Garmin Sharp) shoes on display

David Millar's (Garmin Sharp) shoes on display
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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One of the many crashes in the race

One of the many crashes in the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) feels the full force of the crash

Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) feels the full force of the crash
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jan Barta (NetApp Endura)

Jan Barta (NetApp Endura)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Cannondale mechanic has to quickly fix two bikes

The Cannondale mechanic has to quickly fix two bikes
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michael Schwarzmann (NetApp Endura)

Michael Schwarzmann (NetApp Endura)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC) launches an attack

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) launches an attack
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol) on the Oudenaarde

Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol) on the Oudenaarde
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Raymond Kreder (Garmin Sharp) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling)

Raymond Kreder (Garmin Sharp) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) leads Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) leads Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the final kilometres

Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the final kilometres
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) tries his break free from the leading four riders

Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) tries his break free from the leading four riders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Boom (Belkin) with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on his wheel

Lars Boom (Belkin) with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on his wheel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton in anticipation of the 2014 De Ronde

The peloton in anticipation of the 2014 De Ronde
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke and Fabian Cancellara congratulate each other

Sep Vanmarcke and Fabian Cancellara congratulate each other
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The agony and the ecstasy...

The agony and the ecstasy...
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The start of the 2014 Tour of Flanders

The start of the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) spectacularly rolls out of a crash

Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) spectacularly rolls out of a crash
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) takes a tumble

Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) takes a tumble
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Devolder (Trek) attempts to get back on his bike after a crash

Stijn Devolder (Trek) attempts to get back on his bike after a crash
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dayer Quintana (Movistar)

Dayer Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) can't hide his dissapointement

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) can't hide his dissapointement
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC) post race

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) post race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) back at De Ronde for the first time since 2005

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) back at De Ronde for the first time since 2005
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) retrieves his bike

Martin Elmiger (IAM Cyling) retrieves his bike
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) and Maartern Wynants(Belkin) ride on while a Movistar rider watches from a ditch

Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) and Maartern Wynants(Belkin) ride on while a Movistar rider watches from a ditch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) picks his bike out of a ditch

Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) picks his bike out of a ditch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Team Europcar presented to the crowd

Team Europcar presented to the crowd
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A Happy Fabian after claiming his third Flanders

A Happy Fabian after claiming his third Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg van Avermaet scratches his head thinking how he could have stopped Cancellara

Greg van Avermaet scratches his head thinking how he could have stopped Cancellara
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) drags the race winning move along

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) drags the race winning move along
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (BMC)

Thor Hushovd (BMC)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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 Oscar Gatto (Cannondale) tried to support Peter Sagan

Oscar Gatto (Cannondale) tried to support Peter Sagan
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Palini (Lampre - Merida)

Andrea Palini (Lampre - Merida)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Luca Paolini (Katusha)

Luca Paolini (Katusha)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Taylor Phinney (BMC)

Taylor Phinney (BMC)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale)

Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicola Testi (Androni Giocattoli)

Nicola Testi (Androni Giocattoli)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Jan Barta (Team NetApp - Endura)

Jan Barta (Team NetApp - Endura)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrey Amador (Movistar)

Andrey Amador (Movistar)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) leads Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) leads Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) starts to lose ground

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) starts to lose ground
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) climbs to victory

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) climbs to victory
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) rode an almost perfect race

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) rode an almost perfect race
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Borut Bozic (Astana)

Borut Bozic (Astana)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Matti Breschel at the start of the Tour of Flanders

Matti Breschel at the start of the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was on the attack and finished second

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was on the attack and finished second
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara goes away with Sep Vanmarcke on the Oude Kwaremont

Fabian Cancellara goes away with Sep Vanmarcke on the Oude Kwaremont
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen on the Koppenberg

Tom Boonen on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara puts in an acceleration

Fabian Cancellara puts in an acceleration
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) rode strongly in Tour of Flanders

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) rode strongly in Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cancellara puts in an attack on the Oude Kwaremont, and is marked by Vanmarcke

Cancellara puts in an attack on the Oude Kwaremont, and is marked by Vanmarcke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)

Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) leads Zdenek Stybar (OPQS) on the Koppenberg

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) leads Zdenek Stybar (OPQS) on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) on the Koppenberg

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) attacks the chase group

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) attacks the chase group
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) victorious in Oudenaarde

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) victorious in Oudenaarde
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen chasing with Niki Terpstra

Tom Boonen chasing with Niki Terpstra
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Manuel Quinziato (BMC) rides in the pack

Manuel Quinziato (BMC) rides in the pack
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Manuel Quinziato (BMC)

Manuel Quinziato (BMC)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Palini (Lampre - Merida) was in the main break

Andrea Palini (Lampre - Merida) was in the main break
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Terpstra and Kristoff try to bridge

Terpstra and Kristoff try to bridge
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh on the Taaienberg

Stijn Vandenbergh on the Taaienberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) rode his heart out in the Tour of Flanders

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) rode his heart out in the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara embraces his wife after winning his third Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara embraces his wife after winning his third Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins his third Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins his third Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicki Sorensen (Tinkoff - Saxo)

Nicki Sorensen (Tinkoff - Saxo)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan and Filippo Pozzato cross the line

Peter Sagan and Filippo Pozzato cross the line
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan and Filippo Pozzato cross the line

Peter Sagan and Filippo Pozzato cross the line
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) couldn't match the favourites

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) couldn't match the favourites
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cancellara checks the competition

Cancellara checks the competition
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma) chasing on the Patersberg

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma) chasing on the Patersberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was left out of the fireworks on the Patersberg

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was left out of the fireworks on the Patersberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Geraint Thomas (Sky) on the Paterberg

Geraint Thomas (Sky) on the Paterberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) had a good Tour of Flanders

Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) had a good Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) chasing on the Patersberg

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) chasing on the Patersberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) hammers up the Patersberg

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) hammers up the Patersberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) on the attack

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) on the attack
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) leads the breakaway home

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) leads the breakaway home
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek) in the finale of Tour of Flanders

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek) in the finale of Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The sprint finish in Flanders

The sprint finish in Flanders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was the fastest rider

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was the fastest rider
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The emotions pour out for Fabian Cancellara

The emotions pour out for Fabian Cancellara
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) wins the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) on the podium after his win

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) on the podium after his win
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The final podium at Flanders with Van Avermaet, Cancellara and Vanmarcke

The final podium at Flanders with Van Avermaet, Cancellara and Vanmarcke
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) on the Patersberg

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) on the Patersberg
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was head and shoulders above the rest in the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was head and shoulders above the rest in the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) handily defeated Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke to win Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) handily defeated Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke to win Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Ronde van Vlaanderen tilte number three for Fabian Cancellara (Trek)

Ronde van Vlaanderen tilte number three for Fabian Cancellara (Trek)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) timed his effort perfectly to out-sprint the breakaway

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) timed his effort perfectly to out-sprint the breakaway
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins from a four-man group in the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) wins from a four-man group in the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) collects his second podium finish in a Monument

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) collects his second podium finish in a Monument
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took second in the Tour of Flanders

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took second in the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) inks his name in the record books with a third Tour of Flanders win

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) inks his name in the record books with a third Tour of Flanders win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) champion the 2014 Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) champion the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara celebrates his third Tour of Flanders victory

Fabian Cancellara celebrates his third Tour of Flanders victory
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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"Sorry Belgians", Cancellara collects the kisses at the Tour of Flanders

"Sorry Belgians", Cancellara collects the kisses at the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders over Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke

Fabian Cancellara wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders over Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the finale of the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the finale of the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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It was a soggy start to the 2014 Tour of Flanders

It was a soggy start to the 2014 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The big breakaway of the Tour of Flanders

The big breakaway of the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Taylor Phinney (BMC) was one of the last riders of the day's breakaway to be caught

Taylor Phinney (BMC) was one of the last riders of the day's breakaway to be caught
(Image credit: AFP Photo)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) defended his Tour of Flanders title in a pulsating final sprint to beat Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Sep Vanmarcke (Team Belkin) to the line.

The Swiss rider attacked with Sep Vanmarcke on the final ascent of the Kwaremont and joined forces with Van Avermaet and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) who had slipped clear earlier in the race.

The foursome held off a chase from Cannondale and Omega Pharma - Quick-Step with Alexander Kristoff leading home the rest of the field in fifth place. For all their dominance earlier in the race Patrick Lefevere’s team were forced to settle for three riders inside the top ten and Stijn Vandenbergh in fourth.

There was no doubting that this was Cancellara’s day with the Trek leader producing arguably his most complete performance to win his third Flanders crown. This may have lacked a long, lone solo attack but his race winning canvas was covered in masterstrokes; all of which were set against an uncertain background as his team lost both Stijn Devolder and Yaroslav Popovych through crashes.

His first real foray came on the Kwaremont, where he sailed clear with and eager Vanmarcke. The pair linked up on the penultimate climb, setting QuickStep’s plans alight in a move that also distanced Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Even an attack from Vanmarcke on the Paterberg couldn't ruffle Cancellara’s feathers and on the Paterberg the duo reeled in a tiring Vandenbergh before setting their sights on Van Avermaet. The BMC rider was unquestionably the most aggressive rider in the race but when the four linked up inside the final run to the finish in Oudenaarde, Cancellara once again let his experience tell.

Vandenbergh was the first to attack from the leading group, having sat on for most of the day’s ride with Van Avermaet, but when the BMC rider countered Cancellara feigned exhaustion and ushered Vanmarcke to the front to chase down the two leaders.

Inside the finale kilometre, Cancellara appeared to draw away from the rest of the group. It gave him enough room, and enough time, to launch his sprint at the perfect moment.

New course, same magic

Big crowds welcomed the riders in Bruges for the start of the 98th Tour of Flanders. Rain showers also welcomed the riders and during most of the first hour the riders were treated to a spring soaking. Only when approaching Heule, town of the Ronde 2014, did a breakaway manage to distance the peloton. Eleven riders featured in front with Taylor Phinney (BMC) being the biggest name among them.

While the large group quickly collected a lead of four minutes, crashes scared the peloton. Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) and Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr) were the first casualties and a little later Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) rode into an elderly woman who stood on a traffic island in Wielsbeke. After the horrible crash both Vansummeren and the woman were brought to the hospital in bad condition.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) also crashed but continued the race. Meanwhile, the lead group kept the pace high and when riding through Oudenaarde for the first time the gap was six minutes.

To the Oude Kwaremont

As the race tackled the first climbs, the gap of the lead group came back down. After the first ascent of the Oude Kwaremont the gap was five minutes. After three climbs, when approaching the 2650m pavé stretch of Kerkgate the bad luck for the Lotto-Belisol continued with their leader Jürgen Roelandts crashing out of the race.

On the descent of the Molenberg, and the peloton approached the Paddestraat there was another major crash. One rider slipped away in a left-hand corner and soon several riders were going down including Luca Paolini and former double winner Stijn Devolder. The peloton was split in two parts. On the Paddestraat, Omega Pharma – QuickStep put seven men on the front.

The crashes kept on coming. Popovych hooked into the clothing of a fan and went down hard, and on the wide roads towards the cobbles of the Haaghoek the second group with Devolder and Pozzato managed to come back to the front. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) crashed at a bus stop platform to compound Lotto’s problems.

At the beautiful cobbles of the Haaghoek there were seven leaders left in front with Phinney, Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Belisol), Aliaksander Kuchynski (Katusha), James Vanlandschoot (Wanty-Groupe Robert) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) all clear. The peloton hit the cobbles three minutes later, still being led by Boonen’s troops.

The action explodes

When moving on towards the Kanarieberg – the ninth climb of the day - the speed in the peloton increased and the leaders were no more than two minutes clear. On the Kanarieberg Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC) attacked with Bernhard Eisel (Sky) managing to latch on.

At the foot of the 2.2km long Oude Kwaremont only Impey, Broeckx and Phinney had survived from the initial break.

Yet another crash occurred in the peloton when BMC-riders switched wheels. Stijn Devolder hit the deck again, along with four riders from Tinkoff-Saxo.

The situation after the Paterberg - just before the Koppenberg - saw Impey, Phinney and Broeckx with just over half a minute on a group of about forty riders. Belkin and QuickStep led this group to the tough cobbled Koppenberg climb. A second group with Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) followed; with a third group containing Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) at nearly a minute.

Impey led the race over the Koppenberg with a small gap over Terpstra, Boonen, Cancellara, Sagan, Vanmarcke, Geraint Thomas (Sky), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Stybar, Vandenbergh and only a few others which formed a lead group of about twenty riders.

On the cobbles of the Mariaborrestraat and Steenbeekdries the second group came back but in the meantime Stijn Vandenbergh, Dries Devenyns (Giant-Shimano) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) snuck away.

On the Taaienberg, Boasson Hagen and Devenyns dropped Vandenbergh. The two leaders had a handful of seconds on a star-studded group featuring Sagan, Cancellara, Boonen, Vandenbergh, Stybar, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet, Björn Leukemans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale).

At 33km from the finish the duo were caught back and thirteen riders were leading. Devenyns attacked again, and soon after Van Avermaet tried his luck and broke clear with Vandenbergh on his wheel. Nobody in the lead group wanted to chase the leaders down and the pace dropped.

Sagan led the favourites-group over the cobbles as Degenkolb began to lose contact. Cancellara took over shortly after the cobbles which clearly hurt many riders. In front Van Avermaet received no support from Vandenbergh but still the duo gained half a minute on the favourites group as Vanmarcke attacked without success.

Omega lose their grip

At twenty kilometres from the finish the race turned on its head, first as Paolini and little later a large group with Pozzato, Thomas, Wiggins and others bridged back up with the favourites. When approaching the third ascent of the Oude Kwaremont the two leaders had 25 seconds on Leukemans and 45 seconds on the peloton.

Halfway up the climb, with Omega Pharma scattered and Sagan lacking punch, Cancellara began to stamp his authority on the race. The rest would have to fall in line.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing6:15:18
2Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
4Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
5Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha0:00:08
6Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:18
7Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:35
8Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:00:37
9Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:41
10Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp0:00:43
11Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:01:12
12Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
13Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:01:15
14Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:19
15John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:25
16Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
17Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
18Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
19Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
20Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
21Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr
22Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
23Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol
24Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:35
25Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale0:01:41
26Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:01:43
27Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
28Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
29Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka
30Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
31Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp - Endura
32Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
33Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
34Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
35Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
36Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha0:03:52
37Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica Greenedge
38Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
39Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar
40Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:04:12
41Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale
42Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol
43Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
44Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
45Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
46Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
47Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp
48Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
50Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
51Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica Greenedge
52Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge
53Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp - Endura
54Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
55Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
56Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
57Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale
58Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
59Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:07:41
60Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky
61Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
62Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
63William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr
64Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano
65Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
66Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol0:08:17
67Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
68Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
69Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr
70Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
71Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
72Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
73Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
74Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale
75Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar
76Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
77Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha
78Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura0:09:49
79Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
80Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
81Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp
82Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team Katusha
83Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale
84Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
85Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
86Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
87Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
88Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
89Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp
90Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
91Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
92Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
93Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
94Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
95Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
96Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling0:12:25
97Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica Greenedge0:12:38
98Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica Greenedge
99Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
100Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team Katusha
101James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
102Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo

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