British champion comfortably beaten in final sprint by Nacer Bouhanni
British champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) produced a remarkable recovery in Nokere Koerse to finish second behind Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) after a late puncture.
Blythe suffered a front wheel puncture with 11km remaining in the Belgian race, and seemed to be out of contention as the pace steadily ramped up at the front.
But as the peloton’s rhythm was affected by a number of crashes in the final kilometres, Blythe was able to work his through the convoy and regain contact with the bunch, eventually positioning himself towards the front for the final cobbled rise towards the line in Nokere.
The only man in a better position was Bouhanni, who was locked on his lead-out man’s wheel, being given the perfect set-up for the win when he was released with 200m to go.
Already a few metres ahead, Bouhanni only increased his lead over the other contenders, eventually crossing the line at least ten bike lengths ahead of his rivals.
It was much closer for the podium places, with Blythe edging out Joeri Stallaert (Cibel-Cebon) by half a wheel for second place.
Team Sunweb‘s Phil Bauhaus was the highest WorldTour rider in fourth place, but there will have been disappointment for BMC Racing, who were active on the front of the bunch all day and launched a late attack with Silvan Dillier, but were unable to place any riders in the top 10.
Danilith – Nokere Koerse 2017: Deinze to Nokere (192.3km)
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits, in 4-07-31
2. Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
3. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Cibel – Cebon
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb
5. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
6. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
7. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
9. Alan Banaszek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel – Cebon, all at same time