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by Matt de Neef
February 27, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Caleb Ewan wins Abu Dhabi Tour’s final stage as Rui Costa secures the overall; Greg van Avermaet wins men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Lucinda Brand solos to victory in women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Peter Sagan bounces back to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne; Ryan Gibbons bolsters Tour de Langkawi lead with stage 5 win; Jolien d’Hoore claims Omloop van het Hageland victory; Peter Sagan’s bizarre post-Het Nieuwsblad interview; On-board highlights from stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
For the second year in a row Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the cobbled opener to the Classics season. And for the second year in a row, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), wearing the rainbow bands of world champion, had to settle for second place. Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) finished the day in third.
The trio escaped late in the race when Vanmarcke attacked an elite group of favourites on the Molenberg climb, with only Olympic champion Van Avermaet and Sagan able to follow. Despite the efforts of Sky and QuickStep Floors in the group behind, the trio was able to stay away to contest the win.
Vanmarcke opened the final sprint but Van Avermaet soon came around his compatriot and with Sagan unable to get on terms, Van Avermaet successfully defended his title.
“It’s an amazing feeling. Last year I started my year with a big victory. It’s always nice to come back and win your first race on home ground,” Van Avermaet said. “For me it’s the perfect start of the season.”