Kristoff victorious in Tour of Flanders

Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) has won this year's Tour of Flanders. The Norwegian saw off all competition from at home and abroad winning victory in the sprint against Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands. Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet was third.
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The initial stages of the race over a distance of 264km was marked by a series of incidents involving cars and only really came to light when the riders battled it out on the Koppenberg and the Taaienberg.

It was here that a group of hot favourites broke loose from the peloton and stole a march of all other competitors. Of all the favourites only Vanmarcke here missed his appointment with destiny.

Etixx-Quick Step's Terpstra broke loose from the group after the Kruisberg and was joined by Katusha's Alexander Kristoff. The two riders soon sped half a minute ahead of the pack.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas made an ultimate attempt to join them, but failed bitterly. It was as if the Flemish Downs had given Terpstra and Kristoff wings. However, at the Patersberg Belgian Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan of the Czech Republic closed in on the leaders.

In the final kilometres Van Avermaet and Sagan edged closer and closer to the leaders, but not enough to stop Kristoff winning the final sprint against Terpstra.

The Norwegian completed one of the world's most arduous cycling races in 6 hours 26'38".

Alexander Kristoff is only the third rider to win the Tour of Flanders and the 3-Day Event of De Panne in the same year. He told VRT News and Sport: "The Tour of Flanders has always been my dream and it was my main goal this season."

Quizzed about his hopes of winning Paris-Roubaix Kristoff said: "I've always had a harder time in Paris-Roubaix. I'm not expecting anything, but I hope I can win."

Alexander Kristoff's Katusha is a cycling team funded by Russian businesses including Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii.