Geraint Thomas saw a lone break for victory at Le Samyn in Belgium fall narrowly short as Russia's Alexey Tsatevich surged to an impressive win.
Thomas attacked alongside Team Sky team-mate Ian Stannard and two other riders with 7km to go, before kicking again with 4km remaining as he looked to seal a solo triumph.
But after the Briton was caught by the chasing peloton inside the final 2km, Tsatevich (Katusha) launched his own lone bid for glory and just managed to hang on ahead of Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) in second and Adrien Petit (Cofidis) in third.
It was the 23-year-old's first victory as a professional and comes 12 months after he finished eighth at the 2012 Le Samyn.
Britain and Team Sky were active throughout the 209km 2013 edition, with Luke Rowe forming a three-man breakaway alongside Thomas Sprengers (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) and Elias van Breussegem (Doltcini Flanders).
The trio opened up a gap of five minutes 30 seconds at its peak, but Van Breussegem couldn't keep up the pace and was dropped with 60km to go, and when Sprengers also fell away, Rowe was left to go it alone 40km from the finish.
He was eventually caught with 12km remaining, but his efforts had enabled his team-mates in the peloton to stay fresh by letting other teams lead the chase.
Thomas and Stannard duly capitalised on that by darting off the front of the bunch with 7km to go along with Ignatas Konovalovas (MTN Qhubeka) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Vacansoleil-DCM).
With defending champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) having punctured, Thomas then attacked again and gained 100m on the chasers, but was agonisingly hauled back as the race neared the finish line in Dour, clearing the way for Tsatevich to power to victory.
It was Thomas' second near miss of the week, having finished fourth in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but offers further indication of the Welshman's fine form going into the Classics season.