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Slovakia's in-form Peter Sagan came home alone to win the 75th edition of the Ghent-Wevelgem classic, the Cannondale rider crossing the line almost half a minute clear of Slovenian Borut Bozic.
Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet took third.
Sagan, 23, who was part of an 11-man breakaway group, made his push for victory three-and-a-half kilometres from the line for his sixth success of the season.
The one day race in Flanders, shortened by 50 kilometres to 183.7km due to the extreme cold, lost some of its lustre when the two race favourites, Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara and local hope Tom Boonen, failed to finish.
Cancellara, mindful of the need to conserve his energy for next weekend's Tour of Flanders, pulled out 69km from the finish.
Boonen's race came to a premature end when he crashed, injuring his right knee, four kilometres further down the road.
Sagan, who was second in last week's Milan-San Remo and in Friday's E3 race, again underlined he is a major threat to Cancellera in the upcoming Tour of Flanders.
"I've been waiting to win one of the big northern classic races, which I rate the best of all and which really inspire me as they are made for riders like me," he said.
"This race might not be on the same level as the Milan-San Remo or the Paris-Roubaix but all the same it's my first major win in a classic and I'm very proud of it."