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The 26-year-old put out a huge turn of pace, squeezing himself through several riders before charging to the line. Hugo Hoffstetter (Arkéa-Samsic) took second place with Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) riding to third.
European champion Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal Quick-Step) was one of the pre-race favorites, but the Dutchman crashed inside the final 50 kilometers and couldn’t make it back to the bunch. His teammate Kasper Asgreen hit the deck inside the final kilometer, capping off a terrible day for Soudal Quick-Step.
“It’s like a dream, I don’t believe it. It’s absolutely unbelievable,” Menten said. “We had the plan to make it a hard race and that really suits me. It was ideal with Victor [Campenaerts] and Jarne [Van De Paar] at the front and I could relax at the back. They were with seven at the front, it was absolutely perfect. It was about waiting and waiting and with 500m I thought that this is the moment. At the finish line, I thought I won and I just didn’t believe it.”
Menten joked at the finish line that he had hurt his shoulder celebrating the win as he crossed the line.
The early part of the race was marked with a five-man breakaway that would get caught with around 50 kilometers to go. The last quarter of the 209km race saw a string of big attacks, including a seven-man move that contained Campenaerts and others that got away with 30km to go.
For a while, it looked as though that break would be able to stay away, but it was reeled in with less than five kilometers remaining and the win would go down to a bunch sprint.
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