Michael Valgren wins opening Classics race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Michael Valgren from Team Astana attacked his breakaway companions in the final couple of kilometres
10 riders got in the day's breakaway; Brian van Goethem, Kenneth Vanbilsen, Edward Planckaert, Michael Svendgaard, Dries De Bondt, Marco Mathis, Michael Van Staeyen and Ludwig De Winter. Two riders Tim Ariesen and Aleksejs Saramotins bridged across.
It was a cold and windy day, just 2C, the breakaway's lead went up to over 5 minutes.
Ariesen, Mathis, Van Staeyen and Svendgaard from the breakaway were dropped and Van Goethem and De Bondt were reeled in after the Molenberg.
Next, TimWellens, Naesen, Matthews, Gougeard, Stybar, Küng and Démare attacked to chase the breakaway down, but with 43 kms to go the breakawa and the chasing group were caught by the peloton.
Tim Wellens attacked again and took Van Avermaet, Van Baarle, Stuyven, Theuns, Colbrelli, Stybar, Vanmarcke, Benoot with him.
On the Valkenberg, the peloton shut down the attack, next Teij Benoot attacked and got a 30 second ga,s but was reeled in on the top of Tenbosse.
With fierce headwinds, the riders headed up the Muur van Geraardsbergen, Vanmarcke attacked and Stybar joined him.
Oliver Naesen, Gatto, Lutsenko, Valgren Andersen, Colbrelli, Oss, Trentin and Van Aert bridged across before the final climb of the Bosberg and the group crested the Bosberg with a significant lead over the peloton, for the run into Ninove for the finale.
With 2.5 kms to go, Sep Vanmarcke attacked but was brought back, and immediately Valgren Andersen counter attacked.
The breakaway hesitated and Valgren Andersen was gone, he managed to hold his gap into the final straight to celebrate his first Monument win!
Valgren said after the finish "A big group got away on the Muur, on the run in Sep van Marcke attacked and then I counter attacked. The riders hesitated and I got a gap and got away."
VIDEO: 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Highlights
2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Top 10
1 Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
2 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
7 Edward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb
8 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
10 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe