The second half of the opening weekend is a day traditionally for the sprinters, but if the classics stars have anything to say, this race will sure to excite.
A group of six made the day’s breakaway, but the more interesting break was the large group of chasers that consisted of Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), Jasper Stuyven (Trek), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), and Luke Rowe (SKY).
By the time the riders hit the circuits at the four hour mark with 30 km to, the chasing group had swallowed up the break, and the peloton was less than a minute behind. Jasper Stuyven went out on his own, looking to repeat his performance from last year where he won this race in a solo move.
Peter Sagan and Matteo Trentin (Quickstep) bridged up to Stuyven, as did Tjes Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Luke Rowe soon after. BMC led the chasing effort 25 seconds back, while the peloton was a minute back.
As the kilometers ticked down, the gap opened up, cementing this group as the group that will come to the line for the win. Into the final kilometer, a sprint opened up by Sagan looked as if it were too early, but by the time Stuyven bridged up to him, Sagan had enough strength to hold off the rising star from Belgium. Luke Rowe managed third in the sprint.
The classics season will continue on Wednesday with Le Samyn and the Strade Bianche race will contested on Saturday.