Best of British cycling advent calendar: #20

Ian Stannard's second consecutive win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is behind door 20 of our Best of British cycling advent calendar

Ian Stannard defended his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title in fine style back in March, beating Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) to the line having outmanoeuvred the Dutchman’s teammates Tom Boonen and Stijn Vandenbergh in the final kilometres.

The reigning champion came into the race with an incredibly strong squad, containing Sir Bradley Wiggins, Bernhard Eisel and Luke Rowe and would have been confident of repeating his effort in 2014, when he beat Greg van Avermaet in a two-man sprint finish.

>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<

>>> Ian Stannard’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad win in pictures

But, surrounded by three Etixx-QuickStep riders with a little under 5km to go, it looked as if Stannard was going to be worked over and left to contend for just a spot on the podium.

Boonen put in an attack 4.5km from the line, which Stannard begrudgingly followed before putting in an attack of his own, which blew Vandenbergh out the back and left Boonen trailing a few seconds behind.

>>> Ian Stannard: Etixx-QuickStep’s Het Nieuwsblad tactics played into my hands

That left Stannard and Terpstra to contest the victory, but with Terpstra winding up to sprint to the line very early Stannard was able to follow his wheel and sneak out from behind him at the last second to take the win that left even his Team Sky teammates wondering how he managed it, while Twitter was similarly shocked.

Stannard spoke recently, however, that he may not attempt to defend his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title in 2016, opting instead to focus on Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Either way, his brilliant tactical ride at this year’s race goes down as one of the best British performances of the season.