Sagan wins opener in Driedaagse de Panne
Peter Sagan underlined his impressive form with victory in the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne in Belgium.
The Slovakian rider saw off Jacopo Guarnieri and Liquigas-Cannondale team-mate Fabio Sabatini in a sprint to the line after a 201.6km stage.
Thanks to time bonuses, Sagan picks up a four-second advantage to lead the overall standings.
The rolling hills of stage one did not separate the bunch, despite a fluid breakaway which at one point opened up a two minute, 10 second advantage.
Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Reinier Honig (Landbouwkrediet) were the instigators of the attack, and though others caught them up the peloton never let them escape out of reach.
The escapees were reeled in well before the finishing line, and there were more than 40 riders in the bunch for the final sprint.
Liquigas-Cannondale controlled the sprint superbly to set up Sagan for the win, and three riders from the team occupied the first four places.
The four-stage event over three days is a lead up to the Tour of Flanders, which begins on Sunday.
Stage two is a 216km route from Zottegem to Koksijde, finishing on the flat and inviting another sprint finish.