The "Sprinter's Classic" today turned out to be anything but, as a race that featured split after split in the main peloton was finally won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) from Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas). The chasing group of Matthew Goss (Saxo Bank), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) and Andreas Klier (Cervélo) rolled in 50 seconds later having tried but failed to reel them in.
The peloton split about 94km from the finish, with pre race favourites Cavendish, Haussler and Boonen stuck in the rear while 33 riders went clear. There was little reason for Cervelo or Columbia Highroad to chase as both teams had a presence in the leading pack, and Boonen punctured. The gap went up to over four minutes with about 50km to go, at which point the front group split into two, and the main peloton gave up the race.
Kuschynski attacked through Kemmel and up the slippery Kemmelburg and Boasson Hagen got away to join him. The leading pack attempted to chase the two down but with little success, and in the end Andreas Klier, Matt Goss and Matt Hayman went off the front with 13km to go to try and reel them in. They left it too late, though, and with two kilometres to go gave up the chase. Kuschynski, to his credit, never stopped working to keep the break away but Boasson Hagen, the better sprinter, was always likely to take the sprint and did so fairly easily. The main peloton rolled in much later, having coasted the last 50km and saved their legs for Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia Highroad)
2. Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas)
3. Matthew Goss (Saxo Bank), at 0:50
4. Mathew Hayman (Rabobank)
5. Andreas Klier (Cervélo Test Team)
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.