Wout van Aert goes into the lead of the Belgium Tour having beaten favourite Tony Martin in the opening prologue

Cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert provided a shock in the prologue of the Belgium Tour by beating favourite Tony Martin to the stage win by two hundredths of a second.

Van Aert, riding for Continental team Crelan-Vastgoedservice, completed the six kilometre course in 6-52, beating Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling) to the win.

>>> A cyclocross world champion trying to cross a river – what could go wrong? (video)

The 21-year-old was making his first appearance in a UCI road race and now finds himself in the leader’s jersey heading into stage 1 from Buggenhout to Knokke-Heist on Thursday.

As well as the World Championships in Zolder, van Aert also won the Belgian national championships and the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in 2016.

>>> Cyclocross world champion sets his sights on Paris-Roubaix

Lars van der Haar, who finished second to van Aert in Zolder is also riding the Belgium Tour, representing Giant-Alpecin.

Trek-Segafredo’s Boy van Poppel also lines up, having been eliminated from the Giro d’Italia on stage eight for finishing outside the time limit, along with Elia Viviani.