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Tour of Flanders 2018

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Hello and Happy Easter from the Tour of Flanders. 

The minutes are counting down to the start of this year's race. 

 

We have a feeling it's going to be a special one! 

 

We'll have full live coverage, from the start in Antwerp until after the finish in Oudenaarde.

 

 

The riders are currently signing on after riding to the stage in the central square. 

It was raining earlier but appears to have stopped. 

 

It is dry further south and in the finish but showers are expected during the race. 

 

This is the view across Antwerp. 

 

 

EF Education-Drapac sign on.

 

 

We''re getting close to the 10:30 roll out, with the official race start at 10:45 local time.  

 

The official race distance is 264.7km.

 

Sep Vanmarcke is a big favourite today. 

 

 

 

Sep spoke briefly after sign on.

 

"When I woke I thought I had to be proud. This is my 9th participation at the Tour of Flanders. I have to be proud. I'm going for the win."

 

Next up was Peter Sagan with his Bora-Hansgrohe team.

 

 

Sagan made his now famous "We'll see" prediction.

This is how it went on stage: 

 

How are you?" "Ok". "Are you ever nervous?" "Sometimes." Prediction. "I expect to finish the race. I hope so." 

 

The riders are now lining up at the start after following the yellow carpet to the start line.

 

The race is about to start!

 

It's grey and just 7C in Antwerp and so the riders are wrapped up with warm clothes, head bands and neck warmers.

 

A lot is expected from Greg van Avermaet today. 

 

 

"I'll be trying to spot my friends and family along the road. Then I'll focus on the rivals," he said at the start.

 

"I want to win. I've had great sensations so far but didn't win. Last year was the other way around. This year, this is the race I want to win."

 

Here we go! They're off! 

The riders roll out and begin the 9.3km neutralised sector.

 

The EF riders are near the back of the peloton, while 2017 winner Gilbert is near the front.

 

Most riders are wearing leg warmers, overshoes and gloves. 

 

We can expect them to take layers off as the finale of the race and the climbs approach.

 

The riders are passing under the Scheldt river. Some of them will be back here on Wednesday for the Scheldeprijs race. 

 

Several riders are pulling on capes during the neutralised sector.

 

Zdenek Stybar is getting some quick mechanical help from the team car. 

 

At the front of the peloton lots of riders from the minor teams are waiting for the flag to drop to try and go in the early break of the day. 

 

The boats on the river show that the wind could be a factor today.

 

We're hearing there is a tailwind over the top of the Pateerberg, which could mean it is a great place to attack.

 

The flag drops! Race on!

265km to go in the 102nd edition of the Tour of Flanders.

 

We immediately see some attacks and the peloton is lined out. 

 

The Roompot riders are active, trying to get into breaks. 

 

They performed well at last week's Gent-Wevelgem, with Brian van Goethem and Jan-Willem van Schip going in the break.  

 

No break has formed yet but there have been several flats, including Marcel Sieberg of Lotto Soudal. 

 

 

 

Golas of Sky has a problem with a wheel. He stops behind the team car to get help.

 

 

255km remaining from 262km

Italy's Filippo Ganna of UAE is up front and trying to get in the break, just as he did at Gent-Wevelgem.

 

The road are still wet but the riders are heading south were the weather is expected to be better.   

 

Crash! 

 

Several riders went down, including Sep Vanmarcke.  

 

He gets away quickly but that will raise the tension in the race.

 

Alberto Bettiol of BMC is still sat on the road.

 

He seemed to go down hard after tangling with another rider. 

 

Vanmarcke stops so the EF mechanic can straighten his bars.

 

The peloton seems to have eased slightly as Vanmarcke chases back on in.  

 

A lot of riders are keen to go in the early break but big teams have riders up there marshalling the moves to control who goes up the road.

 

From the CN blimp we can see Luke Rowe for Team Sky, Ilio Kiesse for Quick Step Floors and Juraj Sagan for Bora. 

 

248km remaining from 262km

We will also cover the women's Tour of Flanders today, mixing in info here whenever we get it. 

The 150km women's race is about to start in Oudenaard now, with the finish scheduled for 3pm local time.

 

Both Vanmarcke and Bettiol are about to return to the peloton after the early crash.

 

 

The men are passing through Saint-Niklaas, where the race started for a long spell. 

 

There is still no break and so no chance to stop.   

 

This image is from our friends at Voxwomen and shows the start of the women's race.

 

 

The women face 150km of racing, 11 Hellingen climbs and 5 sectors of cobbles.

 

 

To better understand how the women's race will unfold, click here to read our full women's Tour of Flanders preview.

In 2017 Coryn Rivera won the sprint finish.

 

 

Back in the men's race, we've had another tumble. 

 

Jack Bauer (Mitchelton) slipped out on a corner, with Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo)  riding into him. Both got up quickly.

 

 

The speed is high now with several groups forming off the front. The elastic is stretching. 

 

234km remaining from 262km

Still no break after 45km of racing in the men's race. 

 

The men snake through the streets of Zogge, Greg van Avermaet's home village. 

 

He naturally gets a huge cheers. 

 

Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) has opened a slight gap on the peloton but they are not letting him go clear.

 

It seems the reduction in team sizes to seven-rider teams is making the peloton more cautious about who they let go.

 

Bahrain-Merida is active at the head of the race, trying to force a break. 

 

223km remaining from 262km

Koren is on the move for Bahrain. He has been joined by a Topsport rider but the peloton is not letting them go.

 

Heinrich Haussler is at the back of the peloton after a change of bikes.

 

He gives a thumbs up to show everything is okay.

 

220km remaining from 262km

After a fast first hour of racing, the average speed is close to 45km/h. 

 

The women race is also still all together as they hit the first sector of cobbles.

 

The men reach Berlare, the home of Oliver Naesen. 

 

He hurt his knee in a crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday but is racing today.

 

Riders keep trying to jump away from the peloton but nothing is being allowed to go away.

 

The crowds are huge along the road. They now have their umbrella's out as the rain comes down.

Greg van Avermaet said he'd look for his family and friends in Zogge and is currently at the back of the peloton, protected by several BMC teammates. 

 

He needs to be careful because there is a split at the head of the race.

 

210km remaining from 262km

Small groups of riders keep jumping off the front of the peloton but other riders continue to chase them down. 

 

The elastic has yet to snap with riders looking for the glory of the early break and others riding tactically to keep the race together. 

 

Further south the women are racing under heavy rain. 

 

After 25km of the WRVV, there have been several attacks but the race is all together.

 

 

203km remaining from 262km

in the men's race the rain is coming down hard and the roads are soaked. 

 

 

 

Incredibly there is a car on the men's route in the centre of Aalst. The peloton moves around the car safely but that was a dangerous moment.

 

 

200km remaining from 262km

After 65km of racing there is so still no break in the men's race. The rain and some wind seems to be playing a part in the tactical game.

 

 

Alexander Kristoff is at the back of the peloton to get some help with his saddle. 

 

The high speed and the lack of a breakaway could make for a very different race in the finale. 

We can expect the race to explode on the Kwaremont.  

 

194km remaining from 262km

We have a break! 

 

After 70km of attacks and chasing, the peloton has eased, allowing a move to go clear. 

 

They already have 30 seconds. 

 

A touch of wheels and crash also slows the peloton.

 

Sep Vanmarcke is caught in it again.

 

The crash has split the peloton. 

 

Several riders have stopped for a natural break. The pace is slow in the peloton now, so lots of riders are stopping or dropping back to get food and drinks or drop of capes.

 

The break's lead is up to 1:30. 

 

188km remaining from 262km

The break has a lead of 2:00. 

 

It is a big group, of at least ten riders.

 

Behind the big teams have started to lead the chase or at least set the tempo.

 

 

Tim Declercq and Iljo Keisse are working for Quick-Step.

 

Team Sky also have several riders up front, as do BMC, protecting van Avermaet.

 

185km remaining from 262km

The break is working smoothly together in a double pace line.

 

We'll have all the names of the 11 riders in the move very soon.  

 

180km remaining from 262km

AG2R and Sky are also at the head of the race now. 

 

The break leads by 3:0 but it seems the peloton won't let them gain much more.

 

178km remaining from 262km

Keisse and Declercq pick up the speed as the first sector of cobbles approach.

 

The breaks hits the Paddestraat, the second sector of cobbles. 

 

The riders are looking for some smooth road but even the drain is made from cobbles here.   

 

173km remaining from 262km

The cobbles are wet and so the riders are being especially careful. 

 

The peloton exits the cobbles with caution but they are pulling back the break, the gap is down to 1:50.

 

Luke Durbridge takes a new front wheel from a road-side mechanic.

 

Early crash victim Alberto Bettiol of BMC is at the back. He seems in pain. 

 

Back on the road, several riders are eating and taking off gloves and head bands. 

 

That's a sign the race is warming up.

 

Behind cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert calls for his team car. 

 

The women's race is back in Oudenaarde, with 90km to go. 

 

Natalie van Gogh of Parkhotel Valkenburg Cycling Team is the lone attacker. She leads the peloton by 1:00.

 

Cyclingnews has Barry Ryan, Patrick Fletcher, Sadhbh O'Shea, Josh Evans and our local expert Brecht Decaluwé on the ground at the Tour of Flanders. 

 

They spoke to riders and got the latest information at the start. 

 

They will also be at the finish in Oudenaarde to provide the full coverage of the major Classics that only Cyclingnews provides. 

 

Gilbert drops back to the tam car and just after Stybar needs a front wheel change.

 

Team support will also be vital today. 

 

Van Aert was soon back in the peloton. He admitted he was excited to make his debut today but also keen to fight for victory. 

 


"I think that it is exciting to start my first Tour of Flanders and I am just looking forward to doing this race in front of the crowds. Hopefully, I can get in the final. My goal is to go as far as possible with the top guys," he said.



"Of course, it is one of the toughest one day races of the season. The weather predictions are not so good so it will definitely be tough."

 

 

160km remaining from 262km

The peloton has let the break open a bigger bap now as they ease up. 

 

The gap is 5:00. 

 

Vanmarcke is back with his team car to get some help from the mechanic.

 

158km remaining from 262km

The rain is pouring down now. This year's Tour of Flanders will be a hard race for both the men and the women.

 

The men's race passes through Oudenaarde but face a lot of racing before the finish here. 

 

 

Jose Goncalves (Katusha) decides to head to the team bus here rather than continue in the rain.

 

The women are in the middle of the 11 Hellingen now as the men pass through the feed zone and grab their lunch.  

 

150km remaining from 262km

Quick-Step Floors have four riders on the front setting the tempo. They know that the first passage of the Kwaremont is coming up. 

 

 

The legendary climb is the of 18 Hellingen the riders face in this year's Tour of Flanders.

 

 

In the women's race the climbs are sparking the first real selection. Riders are being dropped as the strongest emerge.

 

We're hearing that Emilia Fahlin has crashed and quit the race after the women covered the Berendries.

 

The men are approaching the Oude Kwaremont and are lucky to find dry roads for the iconic climb. 

 

There is a fight for position in the peloton as riders protect and guide their team leaders. 

 

145km remaining from 262km

The cobbles of the Kwaremont always hurt and some riders are suffering the break.

 

Some riders in the break switch to the strip of dirt alongside the cobbles, others stay on the ridge of the cobbles.

 

The peloton squeezes as it enters the narrow road to the foot of the Kwaremont.

 

The climb is 2200m long. It has an average gradient of 4% but has points at 11%.

 

143km remaining from 262km

Van Aert is at the very back of the peloton after changing back to his race bike and taking his musette. He does not seem worried.

 

Burghardt leads the peloton.

 

The riders bounce over the cobbles. The crowds are huge here. 

 

This year the barriers seem to be a little further back to avoid crashes caused by fan objects, like the one that brought down Sagan and others last year. 

 

The peloton makes is safely over the Kwaremont. 

 

But in the women's race there has been a big crash. 

 

At least a dozen riders went down. at speed as they raced to the foot of the Muur-Kapelmuur.

 

It seems that Hosking and Gutierrez crashed.

 

There are 60km to go in the women's race.

 

Only 20 or so riders avoided the crash and form the front group now in the women's race. 

 

Marianne Vos leads the women over the Muur.

 

The crash has split the women's peloton into several groups. The cobbles are wet and so the women take it cautiously on the decent. 

 

We should see a regrouping on the main road as teams reset their race tactics.

 

In the men's race the peloton heads to the second hellingen. There are seven climbs in the next 50km. 

 

 

The peloton comes to the top of the Kortekeer, but such is the pace, Iljo Keisse has time to sit up, take his helmet off and remove his casquette as he leads the way. 

The peloton is strung out with a couple of minor splits as they return to the wide main roads. No sweat, at this point, though, and it starts to bunch up once more.

 

There's been something of a regrouping in the women's race, with 35-40 riders out front. 2017 champion Coryn Rivera is in there. 

 

Problems for Oliver Naesen. It looks like a mechanical issue, rather than physical. The Belgian champion, of course, injured his knee on Wednesday but was cleared to start today.

 

124km remaining from 262km

As the peloton take on the Edalareberg, the breakaway riders up the road hit the fourth climb of the day, the Wolvenberg. They still have a lead of five minutes.

 

Bora and Quick-Step both fight for the front spot as the peloton hits the Wolvenberg. It's a tarmacked climb, 645 metres long at 7.9%. 

 

The Wolvenberg leads into the Holleweg sector of cobbles. Juraj Sagan takes to the front for Bora. 

 

After a spate of attacks, things have calmed down again in the women's race with just under 50km, and five climbs, to go. 

 

And here are BMC... Fran Ventoso hits the front and Van Avermaet is in his wheel. The pace has increased. 

 

Ian Stannard now takes over for Team Sky. The peloton are on their way to the Haghoek sector of cobbles, which leads into the Leberg climb. 

 

115km remaining from 262km

The increase in pace sees the breakaway's advantage fall to 3:45 as they take on the Leberg. 

 

FDJ lead the bunch on Haghoek as the break hit the top of the Leberg. 

 

FDJ still have two riders ahead of Arnaud Demare as they lead onto the Leberg. It's 950 metres long with a fluctuating gradient that averages out to 4.2%. 

 

111km remaining from 262km

5 hellingen down, 13 to go...

 

There's no real let-up in this phase of the race. Up front the breakaway riders hit the Berendries (940m at 7%). 3:15 is the gap. 

 

The peloton is packed tight for the Berendries.

 

 

108km remaining from 262km

A touch of wheels means Niki Terpstra has to put a foot down and he takes the chance to get ride of his cape too.

 

The peloton reach the top together and begin a wet descent.

 

Next up is the Tenbosse and then the Kwaremont. 

 

FDJ has decided to take control of the peloton. 

 

The went descent sees riders take to the footpath on a right turn. 

 

It's a busy race for EF mechanics. After Langeveld needs help, Scully flats.

 

It will be hard for Scully to get back on now.

 

 

The speed is high because the riders know the Oude Kwaremont is close. 

 

Position is vital now.

 

All the big teams are trying to position their leaders near the front.

 

They all know the race 'started' big time last year.

 

Crash!!!

 

Naesen is involved. Stannard too.

 

Valgren and Lutsenko too. 

 

Schar of BMC also crashed. 

 

97km remaining from 262km

The crash has split the peloton as they speed to the Kwaremont.

 

Riders went into the ditch on both sides of the road.

 

Riders are trying to chase in the cars but the race is definitely 'on'.

 

We said the riders are approaching the Kwaremont but we meant the Kapelmuur. 

 

95km remaining from 262km

When the men's race crosses the summit of the Kapelmuur, we'll switch our focus to the women's race for the finale.

 

As expected, the Muur smashes the break, leaving the weakest behind. 

 

Cortina is the first to the top. 

 

Here comes the peloton.

 

Benoot and Van Aert are near the front as the Muur kicks in. 

 

Nibali is still there too.

 

The rough cobbles and steep climb lines out the peloton, making position vital. 

 

Sagan is covered on the wheels.

 

Fortunately for the men, the cobbles are now dry.

 

Naesen is further back as he chases after the crash.

 

Naesen is close to 2:00 behind. It will be almost impossible for him to close that gap.

 

His race seems over. 

 

As the men's race settles for the final 90km of racing, why not listen to the Cyclingnews podcast to prepare for the decisive attacks. 

 

Click here for out special Flanders Classics edition.

 

The men get a chance to catch their break for the next 20km and so we're going to switch our coverage to the finale of the women's race. 

We'll keep you up to date with any important news from the men's race but focus on the final 20km of the women's race.

 

The women are about to hit the double decisive whammy of the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg.

 

Anna van der Breggen still leads by 1:00. 

 

That's a brave attack but could be decisive.

 

Anna van der Breggen spins over the Kwaremont despite some boos from the partisan Belgian crowd. 

 

Behind her the peloton is splitting under the effort. 

 

D'hoore is further back, as is Rivera. 

 

It will be fascinating to see if the race comes back together on the flat roads to the finish.

 

17km to go in the women's race.

 

15km to go in the women's race. 

 

Anna van der Breggen still leads by a minute.

 

 

She stomps on the pedals as the Paterberg begins.

 

After all the rain, the sun is out now.  

 

Anna van der Breggen gets some help from a tailwind but needs to go deep now to stay away.

 

Katarzyna Niewiadoma is strongest behind but reaches the top of the Paterberg 40 seconds down. 

 

In the men's race, the remains of the early break is about to be caught but the peloton has been split into different groups. 

 

We're about to see the start of the real 'finale'. 

 

80km to go in the men's race.

 

Katarzyna Niewiadoma has been joined by three other riders but van der Breggen is still over a minute clear.

 

She's focused on time trailing to the finish.

 

Anna van der Breggen made her move between the Kruisberg and Hotond climbs, with 28km to go.

She took her rivals by surprise but quickly opened a gap. 

 

With 7km to go, she's extending her lead past 1:30.

 

In the chasing quartet are Annemiek van Vleuten, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Ashleigh Moolman and Amy Pieters. But they struggling to pull back time.

 

The Boels team car comes up along Anna van der Breggen to enjoy the moment. She is about to win the Tour of Flanders.

 

Anna van der Breggen passes through an exposed section but her leads is still 1:30. 

 

She is just 3.5km away from victory.

 

Behind Anna van der Breggen the two chase groups come together. Boels have 3 riders behind who have been able to sit on. 

 

They could fill the podium behind Anna van der Breggen

 

2km to go! 

 

Anna van der Breggen enters the final km. 

 

Van Dijk closes the gap between the chase groups. It will be a thrilling sprint for the podium. 

 

Here comes Anna van der Breggen. She's going to win solo. 

 

Anna van der Breggen begins to celebrate with 200m to go. 

 

What a win for Anna van der Breggen.

 

She hits the finish tired but very happy. 

 

Boels enjoy a 1-2 with Amy Pieters taking second.   

 

Annemiek van Vleuten was third for Mitchelton-Scott.

 

Interesting to see UCI officials tag bikes at the finish, no doubt to be x-rayed for mechanical doping.  

 

Back in the men's race the peloton is pretty much compact with 65km to go. 

A small group as 1:30 but is not a threat. 

Bora have decided to take control of the chase.

 

 

To read more about the women's race and see our photo gallery, click here.

 

 

 

Van der Breggen spoke about her win before the podium.

 

"This is the big one. I didn't expect to win this way. It's really great to win this great race in Belgium," van der Breggen said.

 

"This victory goes pretty high in my palmares of course. not only is it a big race, one of the biggest of the season, it's was really great.

 

"We have a good team here with many riders stronger this year than before. That helps a lot. It's great to win this race and finish second. too.

 

"It's a really tough race but its really fun to win it."

 

 

As Anna van der Breggen and Boels Dolmans celebrate victory at the women's Tour of Flanders, we're going to head to the men's race for the final 60km of racing. 

 

 

We will have full coverage, news and interviews from the women's race.

 

As we focus on the men's race the peloton starts the Oude Kwaremont again. 

 

Fasten your seatbelt! 

 

Mitch Docker crashes. He fell slowly but rolled into the barbed wire.  

 

As the cobbles begin, there's a shake out as Yves Lampaert ups the speed for Quick Step. 

 

The peloton is going to split. 

 

Sagan and others are in the second group. 

 

The lead group eases back on the main road but there are gaps between groups that formed the peloton. 

 

However Sagan makes it back on. He was lucky the leaders didn't accelerate. 

 

53km remaining from 262km

Van Avermaet and Gilbert are both behind the front group but they are close to getting back on. 

 

Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) start the Paterberg. 

 

When the chasers pass here we will really find out who is a real contenders and who not. 

 

Kwiatkowski spins his way up the Paterberg, while others  struggle with the gradient.

 

Naesen has done well to get back up to the head of the race after his crash before the Muur. 

 

Nibali is also up front. Van Avermaet is there too but seems to be struggling to stay up front. 

 

Next up is Hellingen number 13 of 18: the legendary Koppenberg.  

 

The peloton has split again on the exposed country roads over the top of the Patenberg. 

 

 

Who is your favourite to win the Tour of Flanders?

Click here to read our top 12 contenders. 

 

This is Sporza's star ranking for this year.

 

 

Here comes the Koppenberg. This going to hurt. 

 

The chasers can see the riders up front as they fight for the best line in the gutter. 

 

Meanwhile, we're hearing that Luke Rowe of Team Sky has been DQ'd from the race for riding on the footpath. 

 

 

Everyone is forced to go deep over the top of the cobbled climb. 

One rider was forced to stop mid-way up and so others were stopped too. 

 

43km remaining from 262km

It's Quick-Step who lead the chase now with the three leaders holding a 25-second advantage. Just 42km to and we're down to around 40-50 riders in the main field. 

Lampaert is the rider chasing for the Belgian team, while Sagan just sits in and waits. He has one man left, Daniel Oss, as the leaders move their advantage out to 30 seconds.

 

And FDJ take over for Demare on the front of the peloton. Nibali is still there, Kristoff looked really good on the previous climbs, while Trentin is also in contention. 

 

There are maybe 30 riders left in the Sagan/Van Avermaet/Gilbert group.

 

38km remaining from 262km

 As we hit the Taaienberg, van Avermaet attacks hard and splits the group.

Doing a 'Boonen' surge, only the strongest stay on his wheel. 

 

The three riders up front only lead by 30 seconds now.

 

Van Avermaet's surge did not crack any of the big names but we saw who is strong and who needed time to get back on. 

 

Terpstra tries to split the group but everyone is on his wheel. 

This will be a very tactical final 35km, making it fascinating to follow. 

 

Stybar accelerates now. 

 

Stybar is joined by Roelandts plus Moscon.

 

But Stybar is not happy and eases up.  

 

Sagan is up front in the group of 20 or so strongest. He looks at his rivals as teammate Oss goes deep to set the pace and chase the three up front.  

 

The three are Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky), Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). 

 

Sky, EF and Trek can stay on the wheels but Quick-Step need to help with the chase if they want to keep the race under control. 

 

Sky are trying to slow the pace for van Baarle, Kwaito is sat behind Oss, with Moscon behind the Pole.  

 

Also in the group of big names are Boasson Hagen, Nibali, Demare, Kristoff... 

 

Quick-Step have Gilbert, Lampaert, Terpstra and Stybar.

 

We can also see Styven for Trek, Va Aert, van Avermaet, Trentin, Valgren and Cort Nielsen.

 

28km remaining from 262km

The break of three hit the Kruisberg. 

 

The chasers seem to be waiting for the big finale on the  Kwaremont Paterberg double whammy. 

 

These are many of the big names in the chase group: Terpstra, Benoot, Gilbert, Van Avermaet, Sagan, Van Aert, Vanmarcke, Stuyven, Kristoff, Nibali, Démare, Naesen, Kwiatkowski, Trentin, Stybar, Colbrelli, Boasson-Hagen, Moscon, Roelandts, Oss, Haussler, Politt and Valgren Andersen.

 

Mike Teunissen bridged up solo shortly after the Koppenberg.

 

As the cobbles end, the attacks come. 

 

Colbrelli kicks it off but is chased down.

 

Now Nibali goes solo. He tucks slow and gives it everything. 

 

Vanmarcke flats behind and calls his car. 

 

Terpstra joins Nibali, the two have a gap. 

 

Terpstra pushes on alone as Moscon and van Avermaet try to close the gap. 

 

Terpstra goes into TT mode just as he did lat E3 Harelbeke. 

 

25km remaining from 262km

Terpstra is trying to go across to to the trio up front. 

 

Now who will chase behind?  

 

Terpstra needs to get across before or during the Kwaremont and Paterberg. 

 

Terpstra needs to get across before or during the Kwaremont and Paterberg. 

 

The roads are dry now after the riders raced 150km on wet roads.

 

Behind BMC and Astana lead the chase. 

 

22km remaining from 262km

The chasers are closing the gap on Terpstra. He's making a big effort but the trio up front are also fighting to hold him off. 

 

Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky), Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) lead by 40 seconds.

 

They can pace their effort on the Kwaremont and Paterberg. Everyone else will have to go full gas. 

 

As the chasers turn right towards the Kwaremont, Sagan jumps on the kerb to move up. 

 

Does Sagan know that Rowe was DQ'd for riding on the footpath earlier?  

 

Sep Vanmarcke is back in the group of chasers. He could win this year. 

 

Cort Nielsen tries to go across from the chasers, as Terpstra closes the gap on the three leaders. 

 

19km remaining from 262km

The Dutchman can see them now. 

 

Terpstra powers past them and tries to drop them over the top of the Kwaremont. 

 

The cobbles are rough and tough here. 

 

Only Pedersen is able to hold Terpstra's wheel. But he is suffering too. 

 

Behind Vanmarcke and Benoot surge. 

 

18km remaining from 262km

Naesen is gapped but all the big names are there. 

 

Benoot ups the pace again. 

 

Behind Kwaito and Lampaert crack and are distanced.

 

16km remaining from 262km

Up front Terpstra is solo on the main road.  

 

The others are spread down the road. 

 

After some hesitate, Sagan kicks hard and attacks. 

 

Who can go with him? 

 

15km remaining from 262km

Terpstra leads by 40 seconds. It his race to lose now. Can he manage his effort and stay away until the finish?

 

 

The Paterberg will be the final judge today.

 

The Paterberg is cobbled and steep. 

 

Pedersen refuses to give up but is struggling behind Terpstra.

 

Behind the 10 chasers start the Paterberg 30 second down on Terpstra.

 

Vanmarcke ups the pace, Sagan is on him. 

 

 

But they top the Paterberg 30 seconds down on Terpstra. 

 

13km remaining from 262km

Sagan is alone in pursuit of Terpstra.

 

12km remaining from 262km

Sagan is going all in alone. 

 

Ten or so riders are behind Sagan. 

 

Sagan is 31 seconds down on Terpstra.

 

Sagan tucks low over his bike but is struggling to close the gap on Terpstra and Pedersen ahead of him.

 

9km remaining from 262km

The chasers are closing the gap on Sagan. 

 

Terpstra dances on the pedals as he fights the gradient on a bridge. 

 

Pedersen is 35 seconds behind him. Sagan is at 45 seconds.

 

Sagan eases up. He knew his solo chase was useless.  

 

Who can stop Terpstra now? Probably only a flat. 

 

The Sagan chase group has lost enthusiasm as some riders avoid doing turns.

 

But Van Aert ups the speed. The gap is down to 21 seconds now.

 

6km remaining from 262km

Pedersen is fighting to hold onto second place but he is fading.

 

We stand corrected. The 21 second gap is between Terpstra and Pedersen. 

 

The Sagan group is at 38 seconds. 

 

5km remaining from 262km

The chasers are working but are struggling to close the gap. 

 

Terpstra stays tucked low on his bars. He's riding smoothly, using his track and TT skills.  

 

Terpstra is out front alone. The gaps are too small to allow the Quick-Step car up to him.

 

4km remaining from 262km

The Sagan group can see Pedersen. He is just 15 seconds ahead of them. The young Dane is tired but still fighting. 

 

Terpstra is riding to victory at the 2018 Tour of Flanders.

 

2km remaining from 262km

There's an attack behind, Gilbert chases Valgren as they fight for the podium spots.

 

1km remaining from 262km

Last KM for Terpstra. He can almost see the finish line. 

 

Terpstra has just 500m to go. 

 

Terpstra eases up and celebrates as he wins the Tour of Flanders. 

 

Pedersen holds on for second place.

 

Gilbert beats Valgren for third place. 

 

The other riders sprint behind for the minor places. 

 

It is chaos at the finish as Quick-Step Floors celebrate their big win.

 

Terpstra and Quick-Step Floor played a perfect tactic by sending the Dutchman away, forcing the others to chase and compete against each other.

 

Terpstra is the first Dutch winner at the Ronde van Vlaanderen since Adrie van der Poel in 1986.

 

 

Terpstra is covered in dirt but is happy, hugging his friends and team staff.

 

 

Terpstra also hugs Quick-Step Floors team manager Patrick Lefevere. 

 

He celebrated 20 years of success with Quick-Step on Friday. Now Terpstra has given him another Flanders victory  and the team's 21st victory of 2018.  

 

Terpstra is close to tears as he talks on Flemish about his win.  

 

It's a dream," he says. 

 

Terpstra was almost too happy and too tired to talk.

 

"Winning Paris-Roubaix and now the Tour of Flanders... Those two races were always a big dream for me when I was young kid, I was already crazy about those two races. Now they're both on my palmares. I can't describe how happy I am," he said.     

 

This is the top ten for the Tour of Flanders.

 

1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
2 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
4 Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors 

 

That shows the quality and the difficulty of today's race. 

 

The best and strongest Classics riders emerged after 267km of racing on the Flemish hills. 

 

Terpstra's win at the Tour of Flanders continues Quick-Step Floor's dominance this season.

 

They have now won Le Samyn, Dwars door West Vlaanderen, Handzame Classic, De Panne, E3 Harelbeke, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.

 

 

 

It's important to highlight that Terpstra attacked alone after chasing after Vincenzo Nibali over the top of the Kruisberg. 

 

He then paced his effort to catch and pass Van Baarle, Pedersen and Langeveld on the Kwaremont. 

 

He then used his TT skills and endurance to stay away. 

 

As Terpstra and Quick-Step celebrate, other riders are heading to the team buses. 

 

 

Sprza seems to show Taylor Phinney and Ryan Mullen enjoys some well-deserved Frits.

 

Meanwhile for Terpstra it's podium time. 

 

The podium is away from the finish, with a huge crowd gathering underneath to see Terpstra, Pedersen and Gilbert celebrate.

 

 

Quick-Step floors posted this image of Terpstra and Gilbert celebrating. 

 

 

As Terpstra celebrates on the podium, we have the first images of his win. 

 

 

Vincenzo Nibali's attack set up Terpstra's attack. 

 

He stopped to speak after his race. 

 

 

 It was a double day of success at the Tour of Flanders for the Netherlands. 

 

Niki Terpstra won the men's race, while Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans Cycling team) won the women's race. 

 

They stood together on the podium. 

 

Terpstra has only won 22 races during his career but has now on both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

 

He won the French monument in 2014 with a similar solo attack.

 

No wonder Quick-Step team manager. This is his long list of Tour of Flanders winners (via @ammattipyoraily). 

 

1993 Johan Museeuw
1995 Johan Museeuw
1998 Johan Museeuw
2002 Andrea Tafi
2005 Tom Boonen
2006 Tom Boonen
2008 Stijn Devolder
2009 Stijn Devolder
2012 Tom Boonen
2017 Philippe Gilbert
2018 Niki Terpstra

 

To better understand how the race unfolded, click here to read our full race report and see our massive photo gallery.

 

 

 

The CN reporters are at the team buses speaking to the riders about their race.This is Peter Sagan at the Bora bus. He suggested he was happy with his performance. 

 

 

This was arguably the moment when Terpstra won the Tour of Flanders. He got across to the trio up front and then dropped them on the Kwaremont.

 

 

Terpstra was a deserved winner but Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was the revelation of the race.

 

He's shown his huge talent before but impressed by the way he took on the race and held on to finish second. 

 

"We have two leaders on the team and the role was to play me out a little bit early to put pressure on the other teams, but to come so far? I didn't expect that," he said post-race.

 

 

The time gaps in the top ten tell the story of the final kilometres.

Terpstra won alone, Pedersen held on bravely for second. Gilbert beat Valgren for third place, with Van Avermaet winning the sprint as best of the rest, some 25 seconds down. 

 

1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors 06:21:25
2 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:12
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:17
4 Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:20
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:25
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:25
7 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:25
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:25
9 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan 00:00:25
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:25

 

Thanks for joining us for live coverage from the Tour of Flanders.

 

To read our full men's race report and see our huge photo gallery, click here.

 

 

To read our full women's report and see the photo gallery, click here.

 

 

Keep checking Cyclingnews as we update the site with interviews and news from the race. 

 

We'll also have all the latest tech news and analysis from the race. 

 

Thanks again for enjoying the ride with us. 

 

We'll be back during the week for the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and of course next weekend for Paris-Roubaix. 

 

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