Britain’s Adam Blythe swept to overall victory in the Circuit Franco-Belge on Sunday after winning two stages.
Blythe took his first professional win on Thursday, winning the opening stage of the race ahead of established sprinter Gerald Ciolek (Milram). He lost the race lead in the following day’s stage to Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas), only to regain it on Saturday after winning stage three.
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Despite suffering a puncture in the final five kilometres of Sunday’s 160km stage four, Blythe fought back up to the main bunch thanks to work from his Omega Pharma-Lotto team-mates. Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) took the sprint but Blythe’s 20th spot netted him the overall.
Belgian Sep Van Marcke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) placed second overall, six seconds behind Blythe, with Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) in third, seven seconds adrift of the Brit.
Sheffield man Blythe celebrated his 21st birthday during the four-day UCI 2.1-ranked race. He left the British Cycling Olympic Academy in 2008 to forge his own way in Europe with financial assistance from Cycling Time Trials, a tactic which has now paid dividends.
Last year’s Circuit Franco-Belge was won by American sprinter Tyler Farrar, with Britain’s Roger Hammond third. Mark Cavendish was second behind Gert Steegmans in the 2007 edition after winning a stage.