Norway’s Kristoff wins in Flanders

Norway’s Alexander Kristoff won the Tour of Flanders in Belgium, with Britain’s Geraint Thomas finishing 14th in the one-day cobbled classic.

Kristoff, 27, held off Dutchman Niki Terpstra in a sprint finish and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet took third place.

Welshman Thomas, 28, had been hoping to become only the second Briton after Tommy Simpson in 1961 to win the race.

A team service car clipped Trek’s Jesse Sergent, leaving the New Zealander with a broken left collarbone.

Another service car then crashed into the FDJ team car, which sent Sebastien Chavanel flying onto his back, although the Frenchman was unhurt.

Team Sky’s Thomas was among the favourites for the 264km race from Bruges, and was well supported by compatriot and team-mate Luke Rowe towards the front of the peloton as a number of attacks failed to stick.

Geraint Thomas

Thomas went into the race as one of the favourites after recent strong performances

Thomas made his own move with 18km remaining but was also hauled in, and he did not follow when Kristoff made what proved to be the decisive break.

The Katusha rider, runner-up in Milan-San Remo last month, became the first Norwegian to win the Belgian classic after following Etixx-Quick Step’s Terpstra on an attack 25km from the finish.

Sir Bradley Wiggins crashed in the middle of the peloton while trying to negotiate a tight left-hand turn, necessitating a temporary bike change before he made his way back to the peloton.

“It’s Flanders and it’s obviously a hard race,” Thomas

told Team Sky website. 

“I just lacked that punch which I had last week on the Kwaremont [climb]. I had to have a go as the boys road so well all day for me. I just didn’t quite have the legs at the end.

“When you’re feeling a bit average it feels like everyone is following you. Once I was in that group behind nobody would work together.

“Everyone was a leader in there and it was just attack after attack.”

Tour of Flanders result:

1.
Alexander Kristoff

(Nor/Katusha) 6hrs 26mins 38secs

2.
Niki Terpstra

(Ned/Etixx-Quick Step) Same time

3.
Greg Van Avermaet

(Bel/BMC Racing) +7secs

4.
Peter Sagan

(Svk/Tinkoff – Saxo) +17secs

5.
Tiesj Benoot

(Bel/Lotto) +35secs

6.
Lars Boom

(Ned/Astana) Same time

7.
John Degenkolb

(Ger/Giant) +48secs

8.
Juergen Roelandts

(Bel/Lotto) Same time

9.
Zdenek Stybar

(Cze/Etixx-Quick Step) Same time

10.
Martin Elmiger

(Swi/IAM Cycling) Same time

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/32181324

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