Van Avermaet victorious in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Flemish rider Greg Van Avermaet has won the opening classic of the Flemish spring cycling season. Van Avermaet completed the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 4 hours 48 minutes and 4 seconds.
2017 Tim de Waele

Peter Sagan of Slovakia was second. Another Belgian, Sep Vanmarcke, finished third. Greg Van Avermaet, who rides for BMC, wins the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for a second time in a row.

This was the 72nd time that the race formerly Omloop Het Volk was ridden. After 198.3 km the 31-year old Van Avermaet, an Olympic champion, pipped Sagan and Vanmarcke at the post.

Tom Boonen, who is racing his last season of spring classics, was forced to withdraw after several falls.

By the finish Van Avermaet, world champion Sagan and Vanmarcke, who won the race in 2012, were a full minute ahead of the pack. Van Avermaet was victorious in the final sprint. Italians Fabio Felline and Oscar Gatto were fourth and fifth.

On Sunday riders embark on the second classic: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.