Britain’s Luke Rowe saw a late attack fall short as Germany’s Marcel Kittel sprinted to his third consecutive win at the Belgian one-day classic Scheldeprijs.
Team Sky rider Rowe formed part of the day’s six-man breakaway and subsequently launched a solo bid for glory 7km out, but was reeled back in just over 3km later.
The last of the breakaway riders were swallowed up with 2.5km to go, which set a bunch sprint that Kittel won with ease.
The Giant-Shimano rider piggy-backed on to Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s train and then surged clear of his rivals to win by three bike-lengths from second-placed Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) and third-placed Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing).
The victory takes him level with Britain’s Mark Cavendish and Belgium’s Petrus Oellibrandt as the most prolific winners in the race’s history.
Highlights of the race will be screened on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30pm BST.
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano, 4:33:53
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, same time
3 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing, st
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
5 Sam Bennett (Ire) NetApp-Endura, st
6 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, st
8 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana, st
9 Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar, st
10 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling, st