HARELBEKE, Belgium (AP) — Peter Sagan of Slovakia won his first big classic of the season, dominating a four-way sprint to win the E3 Harelbeke on Friday.
In a chaotic race marred by several crashes, Cannondale's Sagan broke away 25 kilometers from the finish and only Omega Pharma Quick-Step teammates Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh and Sky's Geraint Thomas followed him.
All of Sagan's challengers tried to break away in the knowledge that Sagan was by far the fastest in the sprint, but the Slovak clawed back each time and easily won the sprint from Terpstra and Thomas.
On Sunday, Sagan will be the hot favorite to win the World Tour classic Ghent-Wevelgem, which he won last year. Harelbeke pre-race favorite Fabian Cancellara was held back in a mass crash 30 kilometers from the finish.