World champion Peter Sagan wins Gent-Wevelgem for second time
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 27/03/16 7:47pm
Peter Sagan ended a frustrating run of near-misses to claim his second Gent-Wevelgem title from a four-man breakaway.
World champion Sagan (Tinkoff), who won the race in 2013, was almost caught out by a late acceleration from Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha) but managed to edge to the front in the closing metres.
Sagan had finished second on five occasions this season, and started Sunday's race looking for his first win since taking the world title in Richmond towards the end of 2015.
Kuznetsov set the race alight in the final 50km with a daring solo break, but Sagan was able to join him along with Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Fabian Cancallara (Trek-Segafredo) after the latter launched a fierce attack on the steepest slopes of the Kemmelberg.
The quartet opened up a 40-second advantage on a reduced peloton, with Team Sky's Luke Rowe narrowly missing out on joining the lead group after a counter-attack alongside Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing).
Etixx - Quick-Step also missed out on the break and had six riders pushing to try and close the gap on Sagan's escapees, but they eventually gave up the ghost inside the final 5km.
Sagan finished second behind Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski in E3 Harelbeke on Friday, but on this occasion he timed his final challenge to perfection to claim the Flanders classic.
Vanmarcke snatched second on the line ahead of a tiring Kuznetsov and Cancellara, with Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ) winning the sprint for fifth place ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Etixx - Quick-Step).
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff 5hr 55min 16sec
2 Sep Vanmarcke (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo st
3 Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha st
4 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) Trek-Segafredo st
5 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ +11s
6 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step st
7 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal st
8 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha st
9 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing st
10 Michael Morkov (Den) Katusha st