Paolini wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Italy's Luca Paolini has won this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Italian crossed the finishing line ahead of Belgium's Stijn Vandenbergh.

The two riders sprinted together towards the finish, but in the event the Italian, who rides for the Katusha team, was the stronger rider. Twenty kilometres earlier they had escaped from the pack.

Sven Vandousselaere ended ahead of Britain's Geraint Thomas. Greg Van Avermaet was fifth in this 68th edition of the Flemish spring classic.

The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad heralds the start of a series of Flemish cycling classics. In today's race the riders covered a distance of 199km often over cobbled streets and up demanding hills like the Taaienberg and the Molenberg.