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Norwegian Kristoff takes Tour of Flanders crown

10:49 07/04/2015

Alexander Kristoff became the first Norwegian to win the Tour of Flanders bike race, outpowering and outsmarting his rivals on Sunday in a chaotic edition of the cobbled one-day classic.

Kristoff held off Dutchman Niki Terpstra of Etixx-Quick Step in a two-man sprint finish after a brutal 264km. Lokeren’s Greg Van Avermaet of BMC, who came second last year, took third place, seven seconds behind Kristoff. Tiesj Benoot, the 21-year-old Ghent University economics student, came fifth, while his Lotto Soudal teammate Juergen Roelandts was eighth.

“I raced here a lot as a young rider; I watched this race for a long time before I got the chance to participate,” said Kristoff, 27, who was enjoying his third straight top-five finish in the race. “The dream was just to participate, not to win it. Now I’ve also won it’s a great feeling. I can’t describe it.”

There were casualties during the race: a team service car clipped Trek’s Jesse Sergent, leaving the New Zealander with a broken collarbone. Another service car crashed into the FDJ team car, which sent Frenchman Sebastien Chavanel flying on to his back, though he was unhurt. And Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, crashed in the middle of the peloton; he returned after switching bikes.

Photo: L-R, Niki Terpstra, Alexander Kristoff and  Greg Van Avermaet
© Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Written by Leo Cendrowicz