Tiesj Benoot has admitted that he was out of energy in the finale of Dwars door Vlaanderen and therefore unable to sprint against eventual winner Mathieu van der Poel.
The Jumbo-Visma rider got away with Van der Poel inside the final two kilometres, the duo attacking the leading group of eight as they approached the finishing line in Waregem.
But Benoot, who only joined his team this winter after two seasons at Team DSM, sat up in the final hundred metres, paving the way for Alpecin-Fenix's Van der Poel to win the race for the second time in three editions.
"When I attacked I didn't immediately see someone sitting on my wheel," Benoot said afterwards.
"But a little later I saw Mathieu riding close to it very easily. I continued riding to go for a place on the podium.
"In the sprint there was nothing left, but I am of course happy that I was able to show myself."
Benoot finished ninth at the recent E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but Wednesday's result was his best ever in a cobbled Classic, surpassing the fifth place he earned at the 2015 Tour of Flanders.
Dwars was a highly active race that sprung into life two hours before the racing ended, with Benoot admitting that he didn't anticipate the racing to be full-on so far out.
"I rode a good race and I grabbed my chance," he said. "When Alpecin-Fenix started at 90km from the end, I was a bit surprised, but after that I was always in good shape."
Fellow escapee Victor Campenaerts of Lotto-Soudal tried his luck several times, at one point building an advantage of around six seconds.
Benoot reflected: "When Victor went I knew I had to go and he repeated that a few times.
"Fortunately I was strong enough to close the break together with the other escapees. I did everything I could to go alone, but unfortunately it didn't work out. Nevertheless, this result is good for confidence.”
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