Oudenaarde - World champion Peter Sagan won the first big classic race of the year with a solo victory in the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Sagan, who claimed the world title last September in Richmond, Virginia won ahead of three-time winner Fabian Cancellara, who was competing in his final Tour of Flanders. Sep Vanmarcke was third.
Sagan dropped Vanmarcke in the Paterberg, a brutal cobbled ascent with a maximum gradient of 20 percent, then resisted Cancellara's return. Sagan was so strong in the finale that he increased the gap over the former time trial world champion in the last five kilometres of the 255-kilometre Monument race.
The Tour of Flanders is part of a group of five high-profile classics called the Monument that also includes Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/Tinkoff) 6hr 10min 42sec, 2. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/TRE) at 25sec, 3. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/LNL) 28, 4. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 49, 5. Luke Rowe (GBR/SKY) same time, 6. Dylan Van Baarle (NED/CAN) s.t., 7. Imanol Erviti (ESP/MOV) s.t., 8. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/ETI) s.t., 9. Dimitri Claeys (BEL/WGG) s.t., 10. Niki Terpstra (NED/ETI) s.t.
11. Lars Boom (NED/AST) s.t., 12. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t., 13. Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL/ETI) 56, 14. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/AST) 1:00, 15. Tom Boonen (BEL/ETI) s.t., 16. Daniel Oss (ITA/BMC) 1:02, 17. Jrgen Roelandts (BEL/LOT) 1:16, 18. Laurens De Vreese (BEL/AST) s.t., 19. Jempy Drucker (LUX/BMC) s.t., 20. Scott Thwaites (GBR/BOA) s.t.