Ballan slightly off Tour of Flanders winning form

Alessandro Ballan escape, Tour of Oman 2010, stage five

Alessandro Ballan became the first Italian to win the Tour de Flanders in five years when he won in 2007, but this year he doesn't appear to be able to repeat in Belgium's biggest hard-man's race.

The tall rider from Castelfranco Veneto won the Tour of Flanders in Meerbeke ahead of Leif Hoste after attacking and leaving behind favourites like Tom Boonen on the Muur-Kapelmuur. The three Brits that day - Roger Hammond, Steve Cummings and David Millar - didn't finish the race.

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