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Bettiol takes first win of his career with stylish solo move in Tour of Flanders

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Alberto Bettiol wins Tour of Flanders 2019

Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) caught the favorites off guard to win the Tour of Flanders as he took his maiden professional victory on Sunday.

The Italian rider attacked on the penultimate cobbled hill of the 270-km race and never looked back as a reduced chasing pack were left fighting over second place.

Kasper Asgreen finished second for the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, whose best hope, favorite Zdenek Stybar, cracked with 27 kms left. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) took third place.

After showing good form in the E3 BinckBank earlier this month, Bettiol, 25, became the first Italian to win the ‘Ronde’ since Alessandro Ballan in 2007.

“I still can’t believe it,” Bettiol said. “I still don’t believe what I did. My first win. I don’t believe it.”

“I don’t know how I did it. I felt really good on the Kwaremont and Andreas (Klier) from the car said: ‘If you can, just go.’ I closed my eyes and went. I looked down at the top and had a really good gap. They said ‘keep pushing, keep pushing.’ On the Paterberg I don’t think I lost a lot and then it was the longest 14km of my life.

Defending champion Niki Terpstra abandoned the race when he crashed 157 kms from the line. The Dutchman suffered concussion and lost consciousness before being taken to hospital.

His Team Direct Energie doctor said Terpstra was ‘fine’ but added that he would not be able to race in next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, a race he won in 2014.

Tour of Flanders 2019 results:

1Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First)

6:18:49

2Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

+14”

3Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)

+17”

4Mathieu Van Der Poel (Corendon-Circus)

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5Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin)

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6Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)

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7Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)

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8Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

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9Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)

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10Greg Van Avermaet (CCC)

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11Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)

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12Jens Keukeleire (Lotto Soudal)

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13Dries Van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise)

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14Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

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15Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First)

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16Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

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17Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

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18Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky)

+24”

19Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)

+01’19”

20Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale)

+01’58”