Oudenaarde, April 3 (TASR) – Slovak cycling star Peter Sagan on Sunday won the 100th Tour of Flanders, notching his first big classic race victory.
The reigning world champion triumphed on the 255-kilometre course from Bruges to Oudenaarde in an impressive manner ahead of Swiss veteran Fabian Cancellara.
Sagan, 26, has become only the fifth cyclist ever – along with Louison Bobet, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen – to win the first Monument series race wearing the rainbow jersey of reigning world champion. Meanwhile, Sagan’s older brother Juraj, 27, finished 45th.
“It was a super hard race from the start to the finish. I experienced minor problems after some 100 kilometres. There were many falls, and I had to replace both wheels … I want to devote this victory to two cyclists, Antoine Demoitie and Daan Myngheer, who both died last week,” Sagan told Eurosport.
Sagan made the breakthrough on his triumph in Belgium some 15 kilometres before the finish on a tough cobbled ascent up to the Paterberg hill, where he managed to get pass Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium). Sagan eventually kept his huge lead in the final flat section quite comfortably ahead of the attacking Cancellara.
Tour of Flanders is part of the European classics series called the Monument, which also includes Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia. Sagan is also considered one of the favourites for the Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, April 10.