At 41 kilometers from the finish, Van der Poel disbanded his demons for the first time. From the peloton he started a hunt for the leading group with a few men in his wheel. At about 25 kilometers from the finish, the amalgamation was a fact, although breakaway Victor Campenaerts had already left for a solo. The Belgian, who was joined by Dries de Bondt for a while, was caught up at eleven kilometers from the finish.
Van der Poel tried to drive away on the last cobblestone section, but the group with the Dutchman was soon caught up again. Afterwards he turned out to be dealing with a broken stem.
Nevertheless, the all-rounder decided after his failed attack to do a solid head turn, in order to launch his teammate Merlier. The sprinter did not betray confidence and dealt with Norwegian Rasmus Tiller and Italian Andrea Pasqualon in the sprint. Belgian Sep Vanmarcke finished fourth, ahead of Frenchman Hugo Hofstetter, last year’s winner.
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