Caleb Ewan timed his sprint to perfection to claim Stage 5 of the Benelux Tour.
The finish into Bilzen appeared tailor made for the Australian, with a short, punchy uphill drive to the line.
The Lotto Soudal rider was attentive to the breaks over the final couple of climbs in the closing 10 kilometres.
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As the pack came around the final bend, Sonny Colbrelli made a bid for the line.
The Italian did not have the kick to shake Ewan off his wheel, and the Australian came around to take the stage from Colbrelli and Danny van Poppel.
“I was confident but you never know what you have in the legs until you open the sprint,” Ewan said on Eurosport. “In general a finish like that suits me.
“It was a super-tough day. It wasn’t easy but I am happy with it.”
There was a change at the top of the general classification. Overnight leader Stefan Bissegger was dropped on the penultimate climb, which appeared to leave the door ajar for Kasper Asgreen.
However, the Deceuninck-QuickStep man suffered a mechanical problem with nine kilometres to run and was unable to get back into the peloton - eventually losing 43 seconds.
“It is really disappointing. There was no way he was going to be able to get that gap back,” Magnus Backstedt said of Asgreen on Eurosport commentary.
Asgreen’s problem enabled Stefan Kung to take the overall lead ahead of what will be a tough day of climbing on Saturday.
Remco Evenepoel had been struggling with a stomach issue in recent days and it flared up overnight, prompting the Deceuninck-QuickStep man to abandon the race before the start of the stage.
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