Jan Bakelants (Ag2r) held off the chasing peloton to win Gran Piemonte in Italy on Friday, having distanced his rivals with a late solo attack.
The Belgian launched his winning move with around five kilometres remaining in the 185km UCI 1.HC-ranked race.
Initially it looked as though he had gone to early and would not keep the sprinters’ trains at bay, but remarkably Bakelants managed to maintain his advantage all the way to the line in Ciriè… just.
The wet, distinctly autumnal conditions did nothing to dampen Bakelants’ celebration after taking his first victory of the season – and his first win since a stage of the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep) brought home the chasers in second, with Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) in third.
Tao Geoghegan Hart marked his race debut as a stagiaire for Team Sky by joining the day’s escape group. The 20-year-old Londoner was one of the last of the original 13 escapees to get caught.
Attention now turns to Sunday, where many of the riders in Gran Piemonte will contest Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race of 2015.
Gran Piedmonte 2015: San Francesco al Campo to Ciriè, 185km
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Eduard Grosu (Bel) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin