Kristoffer Halvorsen takes victory in West Flanders
Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) finished as runner up for the second time in three days as he was edged out by under 23 world champion Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Joker Icopal) in the Handzame Classic.
Blythe, who finished second to Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in Nokere Koerse on Wednesday, was kept in a good position for much of the final 10km by his strong Aqua Blue Sport squad.
However the British champion only had one team-mate remaining as the race entered the final kilometre, and other teams who had been sitting in the slipstream of the Irish squad seized the moment to take control.
That left Blythe poorly positioned for the final sprint, but he somehow found a way through to come close to the win.
Another man who was poorly positioned was Joker’s under-23 world champion Kristoffer Halvorsen, who was highly impressive as he weaved his way through the slower sprinters to hold off an quickly-closing Blythe to win by a bike length.
The victory is the biggest senior win of Halvorsen’s career, with the Norwegian rider attracting attention from a number of WorldTour teams including Team Sky and Quick-Step Floors.
Handzame Classic 2017: Bredene to Koretemark (192.7km)
1. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Joker Icopal
2. Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
3. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
6. Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Verandas Willems-Crelan
8. Jelle Mannaerts (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
9. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
10. Alan Banaszek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice