Ballerini opens Belgian cycling classic | More sports news


BRUSSELS: Davide Ballerini continued his strong start to the cycling season and sprinted to victory on Saturday at Het Nieuwsblad, the first Belgian classic of the year.
The Italian sprinter, who drives for Deceuninck-Quick Step, prevailed against the British Jake Stewart from Groupama at the end of the 200.5 km run from Gent to Ninove.
Sep Vanmarcke from Israel Start-Up Nation came third.
In a race marked by the usual attacks, Ballerini was part of a dangerous runaway that included heavyweights of French Julian Alaphilippe and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet.
The 26-year-old Ballerini won the first two stages of the Tour de Provence earlier this month, but winning a World Tour race was the biggest of his career.
“It’s a dream come true,” Ballerini told Eurosport. “This is the beginning of the really great classics. I love it and I love this team. It was my dream since I was a baby when I saw my first race on TV.”