Reigning two-time world champion Peter Sagan won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne ahead of Jasper Stuyven and Luke Rowe on Sunday in Belgium.

KUURNE, Belgium (AFP) — Reigning two-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne after ambushing Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Briton Luke Rowe (Team Sky), Belgian Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) and Italian Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) in the finishing straight with less than 300m to go on Sunday in Belgium.

“Today I felt good, thanks to the team because they did good work on the Kwaremont,” said Sagan, referring to one of the course’s most difficult cobbled climbs. “The whole team was pulling for me. I wondered if the group would make the catch and we’d have a normal bunch sprint, but after they started attacking on the first lap, after that I was in the front in the breakaway and was really glad the guys in the front were working well.”

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Beaten Saturday by the reigning Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Sagan took his revenge by being the fastest of the group of five, all of which escaped some 30 kilometers from the finish.

With the 200.7km win, the 27-year-old Slovakian recorded the 90th pro win of his career and the first since his victory at the world championships in Doha last fall.

Defending champion Stuyven initiated the winning breakaway with about 30km to go and they soon caught all but one rider from the early break of nine.

By the final 15.2km lap of racing around Kuurne, Sagan’s group was at the head of affairs, but it held a tenuous lead of 30 seconds on the peloton.

The quintet worked cooperatively until the final 1,500 meters of racing, when the tactical games began. Knowing that Sagan was the strongest of the five, the others were reluctant to put all their cards on the table, but Trentin struck out first. Rowe jumped right away and chased down the Italian.

Into the finish straight, the leaders swung across the road, waiting for someone to start the sprint. The peloton was within sight, just behind, but they had run out of road to catch the five escapees. Sagan launched his sprint from fifth wheel with about 250 meters to go and handily won the gallop to the line.

“It was a little bit of a slow sprint today,” said Sagan. “Trentin attacked early and then I came to get him, then we slowed again at 500m to go and it was a slow sprint. I thought if I started from 250m I could have a good attack from the start.

“I told my teammates that I would win this race,” he added. “The important thing for me is to stay on form and healthy.

“The rest will be a bonus.”

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