Kasper Asgreen said he felt good and wanted to trust his sprint in the 2021 Tour of Flanders.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider took a shock victory by beating Mathieu van der Poel in a two-up sprint after an attritional 254km of racing in Belgium.
Asgreen, 26, sprinted to his first Monument victory against the odds, convincingly overpowering Van der Poel at the line to take the biggest victory of his career.
Speaking after finish, Asgreen said: “I felt good in the last kilometres still so I decided to try and trust my sprint. Going into the last kilometre I got Mathieu on the front and I heard we still had 1-30 [over the chasers] so I decided to stay in the wheel so I can decide when I want to go.
“It was a really hard race, we were both on the limit. It was a question of the margins at the end.
“It’s been an incredible Classics campaign this year and i’m so happy to finish it off like this.”
After sparking the decisive move 25km from the finish in the cobbled Monument, Asgreen found himself outgunned by superstar talents Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
But the Danish national champion held his own as Van der Poel tried to break clear on the Kwaremont, with Van Aert falling behind.
Into the final kilometres, Van der Poel and Asgreen worked together to hold off the chasing group behind, as Dutchman Van der Poel looked to be favourite to win the two-rider sprint.
With 1km to go, Asgreen was able to stay behind Van der Poel and launched his sprint 250m from the line.
Van der Poel responded but his legs gave way under the final effort, allowing Asgreen to ride clear and take victory.
Asgreen added: “It was the plan to start to jump when we entered the hilly section after the Kwaremont the second time.
“We rode a perfect race all day. The guys were incredible, huge thanks to them and to [sports directors] Tom Steels and Wilfried Peeters in the car. They prepared us for this race so well and we know every metre of the course. It’s an incredible team to be a part of.”