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French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni won Wednesday’s Danilith-Nokere Koerse one-day race ahead of Brit Adam Blythe in Nokere, Belgium. Bouhanni, riding for Cofidis, skated across the line with a comfortable margin over Aqua Blue Sport’s Blythe, who was just ahead of third place Joeri Stallaert at the end of the 192.3km race.
Top 10 results
- 1. Nacer BOUHANNI, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, in 4:22:14
- 2. Adam BLYTHE, AQUA BLUE SPORT, at :00
- 3. Joeri STALLAERT, CIBEL – CEBON, at :00
- 4. Phil BAUHAUS, TEAM SUNWEB, at :00
- 5. Bert VAN LERBERGHE, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at :00
- 6. Coen VERMELTFOORT, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at :00
- 7. Rüdiger SELIG, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :00
- 8. Etienne VAN EMPEL, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at :00
- 9. Alan BANASZEK, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at :00
- 10. Mathias DE WITTE, CIBEL – CEBON, at :00
The route featured seven finish circuits, each of which including the day’s notable hill, the Nokereberg. Situated in East Flanders, this climb was not a particularly difficult challenge, running merely .35km in distance with an average gradient of 5.7 percent. As such, it opened the door for pure sprinters to contest the win.
With about 35km to go, a sizable chase group split off the front of the peloton, in pursuit of the seven leaders, who were 50 seconds up the road.
However, the split wouldn’t hold, and the breakaway was caught in the final lap of racing.
A few more opportunists tried to attack in the final kilometers — BMC’s Silvan Dillier went away on a solo attack inside the final four kilometers. Though he got support from another rider, the finale was too fast for an escape to stay clear. With 2.2km to go, the field was back together with Wanty-Groupe Gobert driving the pace.
With the finish positioned atop the Nokereberg, positioning was essential on the narrow climb. Bouhanni was ideally situated, third wheel, behind two WB Veranclassic riders, and when he unleashed his sprint, none could follow. The 26-year-old collected his first win of 2017, just days before an important appointment at Milano-Sanremo, where he was fourth in 2016 after suffering a skipping chain in the sprint.
Danilith-Nokere Koerse was marred, however, by an instance of poor sportsmanship when Lotto-Soudal’s Kris Boeckmans pushed Jules Justin (WB Veranclassic) out of the peloton.