The Danish Mads Pedersen (Trek), former world champion, won the 82nd edition of the Flemish classic Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
Pedersen (24), winner of the World Cup a year ago, beat Frenchman Florian Sénéchal and Italian Matteo Trentin in the sprint.
This is his third victory this season.
The Swiss Stefan Kung took the lead for the last thirty kilometers before being caught by a group of eight attackers 15 kilometers from the line.
Among the nine escaped were the two big favorites of the event, the Belgian Wout Van Aert and the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, as well as the German John Degenkolb, a week away from the Tour of Flanders next Sunday from Antwerp.
"I love long sprints, said Pedersen. I thought Van der Poel and Van Aert would have the ability to react but I was able to start my sprint as I could," he said at the microphone. RTBF.
"It was a difficult race with the rain and the wind. But I passed Mont Kemmel well. I felt good in my legs and that gave me confidence. I will be present next week at the Tour of Flanders for win, "he concluded.
Pedersen, Trentin, Bettiol and Sénéchal had taken a few meters shortly before the red flame to finish in the sprint, Van Aert and van der Poel looking at each other in the last kilometer.
24-year-old Mads Pedersen won the 15th victory of his career, the third this year after a stage in the BinckBank Tour and another in the Tour of Poland.
After a difficult race due in particular to the weather conditions, 30 kilometers from the goal, the Swiss Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) tried to extricate himself from a group of attackers.
“The favorites were looking at each other. I really believed in it,” said Kung, who however saw the best come back to him.
© 2020 AFP