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Quick Step clicked its classics program into gear Wednesday with victory by Kevin Van Impe in the 64th Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Van Impe, 27, out-kicked fellow escapee Nico Eeckhout (An Post), to claim the Belgian semi-classic.
The pair jumped with about 20km to go in the 200km semi-classic from Roeselare to Waregem that featured 12 climbs, including the Oude Kwaremount and several sections of cobbles, that served up as a nice appetizer for rougher things to come in the weeks ahead.
Tom Boonen guaranteed another Quick Step jersey on the podium to claim third after coming across the line at 12 seconds back.
Milan-San Remo runner-up Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam), looking keen to make a move late, was marked carefully by Quick Step and came across the line fourth.
Last year’s winner, Sylvain Chavanel (also Quick Step), was seventh at 46 seconds back.
Van Impe dedicated his first victory in nearly three years to his son, who died last spring.
The Belgian rider was the center of a controversy last year when anti-doping controllers demanded he cut short a visit to a crematorium, where he was making arrangements for his deceased son. He was told if he didn’t undergo the control, it would count as refusing to give a sample.
Riders at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico later staged protests for the lack of respect shown to the rider.