The 23-year-old Belgian rider, who crashed during Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, marked several key moves, including an attack on the Kwaremont from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), before launching his own bid for glory inside the final 30 kilometres.
Despite a frantic chase from the peloton, Stuyven never looked in trouble, holding a 30- to 40-second lead throughout the closing stages. Even a testing headwind could not slow the Trek-Segafredo rider.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the bunch sprint for third ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) but the day belonged to Stuyven and his Trek-Segafredo team, with Niccolo Bonifazio and Edward Theuns also finishing inside the top ten. Boy van Poppel also played his part. As well as helping to form the early break the Dutch rider kept the move alive once Stuyven and several others bridged across.
On a day that saw both Katusha and Etixx-QuickStep search for revenge after disappointing outings in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, it was Trek’s precise and clinical game-plan that paid off, much to the delight of the management and Fabian Cancellara, who will lead the team during the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix later this spring.
Stuyven was present in each major split inside the final 70 kilometres and when a move that contained Tom Boonen, Greg Van Avermaet, Luke Rowe and the Trek rider appeared to be losing steam, Stuyven attacked with force and gusto.
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