Belgium’s Jasper Stuyven edged cycling’s first cobbled classic of the season, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, on
Saturday after a cat-and-mouse finale.
Taking front spot in a tense final kilometre, the 27-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider had too much speed in the final dash for his compatriot Yves Lampaert after a 200km run from Merelbeke to Ninove.
The new CCC Team partnership of Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin had been in the running as part of a long-range 12-man break before Stuyven and Lampaert broke away on the steep Muur climb.
Earlier, Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton-Scott soloed to victory in the women’s 126.1km race.
With plenty of racing in southern Europe, Australia and the Gulf, the Omloop signals the start of the northern European racing on the UCI WorldTour.
The Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico stage races and the Milan-San Remo one-day monument race are all scheduled for March.