Ballerini takes big win in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Davide Ballerini showed he can be the “next big thing” for Deceuninck-Quick-Step on Saturday after taking a convincing victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the race that kicks off the Spring Classics season in Flanders.

“It’s a dream come true,” an emotional Ballerini said. “This is the start of the really big classics. I love it and I love this team. It was my dream since I was a baby when I saw my first race on TV. We are here.

“I win so I’m really happy for the team. I don’t have words for the team but I know it’s not easy for everybody with Covid. I say congrats to the organisation for this race and keep going like this.”

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) all broke early, but as they approached the climb of the Muur everyone came together again.

As groups reunited, Ballerini edged Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) in the bunch finish at the end of the 200.5 km run from Ghent to Ninove.

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