Under a hesitatingly spring sun, 6 early riders coloured the first part of the race, amongst them two Belgians: Frederik Frison and Jimmy Duquennoy.
The passage in “De Moeren”, where the wind always has free play, did not cause any disintegration or separation this year. The passage along the French border also did not change anything about the image of the race.
It was a matter of waiting for the passage on the “Plugstreets”, a succession of 3 semi-hardened strips, before the platoon broke up into several sections. The small and scattered groups of riders were afterwards a distinctive characteristic during the rest of the race.
The Kemmelberg, the beast of Heuvelland, provided a further sifting so that elite groups could start the chase for a few survivors from the early flight, supplemented by, amongst others, local cyclist Julien Vermote, who had dared to attempt reaching the front section of the race.
In Ypres everything came together and a select group was formed with all the favourites being represented.
In the sprint, Peter Sagan proved himself the strongest and he redirected Viviani and Demare to the places of honour.
(Photo: Nico Vereecken - Photo News)