Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the bunch sprint at the end of stage two of the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday.
Having lost out to Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in the hillier opening stage, the whole Omega Pharma squad rallied around Cavendish to set him up for a sprint win – although the team had run out of lead-out men by the final kilometre.
Cavendish then went for a long sprint on the finishing straight in Koksijde, and saw several of his rival fastmen fade before the line – including Lotto-Belisol’s Andre Greipel. Sagan had previously lost touch with the lead group during the finish circuit and did not contest the sprint.
Sagan’s Cannondale team-mate Elia Viviani placed second behind Cavendish, with Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini) in third.
Arnaud Demare (FDJ) placed fourth to take the overall lead from Sagan. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) is second at two seconds with Cavendish in third at five seconds.
The Three Days of De Panne concludes on Thursday with the final two stages, a 109.7km road stage followed by a 14.75km individual time trial.
Three Days of De Panne 2013, stage two: Oudenaarde to Koksijde, 204.2km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 4-46-57
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Vini Fantini
4. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
7. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Blaz Jarc (Slo) NetApp-Endura
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ in 9-47-18
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 2 secs
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 5 secs
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 6 secs
5. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony at 6 secs
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 6 secs
7. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Meridaat 11 secs
8. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ at 14 secs
9. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini at 14 secs
10. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol at 15 secs
Peloton chases the escape group
Escape group of Koen Barbe, Alessandro Bazzana and Dmitriy Gruzdev pass a windmill
Mark Cavendish takes the win