Remco Evenepoel just failed to win the first stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour on Wednesday.
The top talent was beaten by early refugee Robbe Ghys after an attack of more than 30 kilometers.
In the opening stage of 175 kilometers from Beveren to Maarkedal, Evenepoel attacked 31 kilometers from the finish, together with Victor Campenaerts.
The two Belgians soon managed to catch up with some early escapees.
On one of the last climbs in the Flemish Ardennes, Campenaerts had to release with a cramp.
The Belgians Ghys and Gianni Marchand, who had been in the attack all day, were still in the wheel at Evenepoel and let the super talent of Deceuninck-Quick-Step do all the leading work.
In the sprint Ghys turned out to be the fastest.
The 24-year-old rider of Topsport Vlaanderen achieved the greatest success in his career.
Thanks to bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints, Evenepoel will wear the leader's jersey in the second stage on Thursday.
The Belgian won the stage race in 2019 and is defending champion, because last year the Tour of Belgium was not held due to corona measures.
Bauhaus wins in Slovenia
The opening stage in the Tour of Slovenia was a prey for Phil Bauhaus.
The German from Bahrain Victorius stayed ahead of Spaniard Jon Aberasturi and Portuguese Rui Oliveira after a relatively flat ride of 151 kilometers.
Tadej Pogacar uses the round in his homeland as the last preparation race for the Tour de France.
The Slovenian will start defending his yellow jersey in Brest on June 26.