GENT, Belgium (AP) — Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet edged a three-man sprint to claim a second consecutive victory in the Het Nieuwsblad, which marks the start of the Spring classics. For the second year in a row, the Belgian rider was faster than world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia at the finish line on Saturday. Another Belgian, Sep Vanmarcke, who took the initiative in the final sprint about 200 meters out, completed the podium. "It's an amazing feeling. Last year, my season started here with a big victory and now it's the same this year," Van Avermaet said. "It's nice to come home and to win the first race on home ground." The grueling race, which features cobble sections and
Marcel Kittel of Germany showed he had perfectly recovered from his crash on Thursday to claim the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour on Friday. The Quick-Step Floors rider, who crashed in the opening stage of the four-day race on Wednesday, outsprinted Australian Caleb Ewan after the Orica-Scott rider raised his arms in celebration a little too soon. It was a strange finale and I surfed from wheel to wheel, saving up some energy," Kittel said afterwards.
Feb 25 (Gracenote) - Standings from the WorldTour Ranking Teams 1. BMC Racing (United States) 1189 2. Orica (Australia) 986 3. BORA (Germany) 752 4. Sunweb (Germany)