After a spring season filled with near misses, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) finally got his big Classics win. The second-place man at Strade Bianche and La FlÃ¨che Wallonne soloed away near the top of the Roche-aux-Faucons climb and wasn’t seen again.
Fuglsang took first with a 27-second advantage over Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), whose teammate Maximilian Schachmann rounded out the podium at 57-seconds down.
Wet conditions made the already insanely difficult 256-kilometer race in Belgium a little more dreary Sunday. Both Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) were among several to abandon along the route.
One early break after another was closed down before Fuglsang, Formolo, and Michael Woods (EF Education First) got away on the Roche-aux-Faucons climb with about 15 kilometers to go. The trio didn’t last long together though, Woods dropped off near the top of the climb. Then, just a few moments later, Fuglsang pulled away from Formolo.
Things didn’t get better for Formolo and Woods from there. As Fuglsang powered towards his solo win, a strong pursuit group was forming behind the three leaders. The chase group swept up Woods, but Fuglsang stayed strong and his gap hardly budged over the final 10 kilometers.
Disaster nearly stuck though, his biggest challenge in his run up to the finish proved to be a wet corner with about five kilometers to go.
Thankfully, he stayed upright and crossed the finish line with plenty of time to zip up and celebrate his first career Classics title.