Late attack gives Michael Valgren victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Feb 24 2018 11:44 pm CET

Late attack gives Michael Valgren victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Late attack gives Michael Valgren victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Photo of Michael Valgren by Astana

Astana's Michael Valgren has won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Dane launched a strong attack in the last two kilometres and crossed the finish line solo.

The opening of the Spring Classics season was 196.2 kilometres long between Gent and Meerbeke and included some of the favourite cobbled climbs for the public like the Molenberg, the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg.

A group of 10 riders took an early advantage on the peloton. Aleksejs Saramotins, Marco Mathis, Michael Van Staeyen, Kenneth Vanbilsen, Tim Ariesen, Brian Van Goethem, Edward Planckaert, Michael Crab Svendgaard, Dries De Bondt and Ludwig De Winter created a gap of more than five minutes with the pack.

The ascent of the Molenberg created gaps in the pack and Greg Van Avermaet took advantage of the situation and launched an attack, being closely followed by riders like Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Tim Wellens (among others).

With 40 kilometres to go, all the group got together again and the remaining escapees were caught. The next kilometres saw attacks by riders like Wellens and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), who created a gap of half a minute with the peloton but got reeled back in close to the 20-kilometre mark.

On the ascent to the Muur van Geraardsbergen, EF Education First-Drapac's Sep Vanmarcke attacked and left the others behind, but was soon joined by Stybar. Moments later, a select group that included Cyclo-Cross champion Wout Van Aert, Daniel Oss (Bora-hansgrohe), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Van Avermaet and three Astana riders: Oscar Gatto, Michael Valgren and Alexey Lutsenko), bridged to the front and joined the duo.

With two kilometres to go, there were movements in the front group with a first attack by Vanmarcke that was controlled by the rest and a second by Valgren, which was more successful. The Dane rode away securing his victory while behind him the peloton caught the rest of the front group in the last meters.

This is the first victory for Valgren in classic races after finishing second in the 2016 Amstel Gold Race.



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