Omega Pharma Quick Step's Tom Boonen won the Tour Of Flanders classic race in Belgium today.
The 257 classic nicknamed De Ronde by the locals started in glorious sunshine in Bruges with big crowds watching the departure.
The race, first run in 1913, had ninety flat kilometres before the climbs of the Nokereberg, Taaienberg, Eikenberg, Molenberg, Rekelberg, Berendries and Valkenberg climbs and the final eighty kilometres consisting of more climbs and more cobbles before the finish in Oudenaarde.
Fifteen riders in Anders Lund (SAX), Gert Dockx (LTB), Manuel Belletti (ALM), Pello Bilbao (EUS), David Boucher (FDJ), Vladimir Isaychev (KAT), Massimo Graziato (LAM), Pablo Lastras (MOV), Maarten Tjallingii (RAB), Tyler Farrar (GRM), Sven Vandousselaere (TSV), Baptiste Planckaert (LAN), Tom Veelers (ARG), Andreas Schillinger (APP), Daniel Schorn (APP) got clear and were just under five minutes clear.
Six riders in Matt Hayman (Sky), Tomas Vaitkus (Greenedge), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Aliaksandr Kyuschinski (Katusha), Alexandre Pichot (Europacar) and Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) tried to pull them back..
The rest of the peloton stayed in one big bunch and on tight roads, there were plenty of riders who came off their bikes with Fabian Cancellera having a number of mechanicals.
Cancellera sorted himself out and moved towards the front, flanked by fellow race favourite Tom Boonen.
In the feedzone with 60kms to go, Fabian Cancellera (pictured below) was sent crashing to the ground. He was taken straight to hospital with a broken collarbone.
The escapers, which was now down to ten riders, were about a minute ahead of the peloton which contained about fifty riders.
Another bad crash involved Green Edge's Sebastien Langeveld who hit a spectator trying to get out of the way after being forced onto the pavement.
The escapers were all caught with David Boucher being the last with 39kms to go.
As the race hit the Kwaremont, Sep Vanmarke tried to get away with Chavanel, Boonen and Potazzo all following him.
Luca Paolini was now leading this group which also contained Team Sky's Edvald Boason Hagen.
A crash on a bend with 35kms to go, reduced the number of riders in the front group.
With nineteen kilometres, Allesandro Ballan with Filippo Pozzato and Tom Boonen went off the front.
The trio built up a lead of a minute and five seconds. The games started in the final kilometre but Boonen held his nerve to win ahead of Pozzato and Ballan to take his third Tour of Flanders in a time of 6:04:33.
Greg Van Avermaat was fourth with Peter Sagan fifth.