AP NEWS

Alberto Bettiol posts maiden pro win at Tour of Flanders

April 7, 2019
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Italy's Alberto Bettiol of the Education First team crosses the finish line to take first place in the Tour of Flanders in Oudenaarde, Belgium on Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

OUDENAARDE, Belgium (AP) — Alberto Bettiol used a solo attack to post his first professional win on Sunday in the Tour of Flanders, one of the most prestigious races of the cycling calendar.

Bettiol made his move about 17 kilometers from the finish on the final climb of the Oude Kwaremont to become the first Italian rider to win the race since Alessandro Ballan in 2007. An all-round rider, the 25-year-old Bettiol returned to the Education First team this season after a year away at BMC.

“I still can’t believe it,” Bettiol said. “I still don’t believe what I did. My first win.”

Kasper Asgreen of Denmark finished second and Norway’s Alexander Kristoff completed the podium.

The Tour of Flanders, also known as De Ronde, is one of five high-profile classics along with Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.

It features 17 short but punishing climbs and five cobblestone sections. Paris-Roubaix, known as the “Hell of the North” for its even more challenging cobbles, is next Sunday.