The Netherlands’ Niki Terpstra took a solo victory at the Belgian one-day Classic Dwars Door Vlaanderen for the second time in three years on Wednesday.
The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider, who also triumphed in 2012, escaped from the peloton just as the day’s original breakaway was being caught 30km from the finish and quickly opened up what turned out to be an unassailable advantage.
A four-man chase group containing Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Nicki Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Terpstra’s team-mate Gert Steegmans – there to police the move - set off in pursuit and reduced the gap to 12 seconds, but they were unable to haul the Dutchman back.
The chase quartet were themselves caught with 1.5km to go, setting up a bunch sprint for second place won by the United States’ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), 16 seconds down on Terpstra. Slovenia’s Borut Bozic (Astana) clinched third.
Barrage of climbs
The 200.8km Classic marked the first of three races in five days in Belgium as the build-up continues towards the Tour of Flanders on April 6.
The second half of the route bombarded the riders with a barrage of cobbled climbs and 2007 winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was the first of the big names to stretch the peloton with an attack on the famous Taaienberg ascent.
Britain’s Ian Stannard (Team Sky) hit the front of the race on the Oude-Kwaremont climb, but it was Terpsta who made the decisive move.
The 29-year-old used the soon-to-be-caught breakaway riders as a launchpad and by the time the peloton reacted, it was already too late.
You can view highlights of Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Sky Sports 1 from midnight on Wednesday night.
1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, 4:31:02
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +16
3 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana, same time
4 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, st
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling, st
6 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol, st
7 Tom van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, st
8 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale, st
9 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st