200 riders were on the starting line in the chilly spring sunshine in Deinze for the 246 km race to Wevelgem.
The highlight of the first few hours of the race was the nine-rider breakaway that included former Belgian champion Preben Van Hecke. A combination of the wind in “les Moëres” and the trip through the “Plugstreets” led to a form of natural selection in terms of the peloton.
The second trip to Mont Kemmel proved decisive for the race.
An elite group started to take shape with Sagan, Van Avermaet, Keukelaire, Terpstra and Andersen. On the long road between Ypres and Menin, the “Menin Road”, Van Avermaet and Keukelaire set off in tandem. At a certain point, it seemed as though the chasing pack might catch the frontrunners, but in the end Van Avermaet saw off the challenge of Keukelaire in a sprint finish. Sagan finished third ahead of the rest of the peloton, who were closing in fast.