Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) won her first race in the rainbow jersey of world champion, after soloing to victory at the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Britain’s Armitstead was part of a two-rider break before forging clear on her own with some 10km still to race – admitting it was from further out than she planned.
But the move paid off with nobody able to reel her in, ensuring she starts the season as she ended the last one – on the top step of the podium.
There had been no shortage of attacks as the climbs and cobbles arrived, with Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) among those to up the ante, and defending champion Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) trying to press home an advantage.
Boels-Dolmans had strength in numbers though, with British ‘cross champion Nikki Harris also among Armitstead’s team-mates in the vastly reduced bunch.