McEwen wins Wallonie-Picarde opener
Robbie McEwen won the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie-Picarde, the race formerly known as the Circuit Franco-Belge.
The Australian RadioShack rider outsprinted Omega Pharma-Lotto's British rider Adam Blythe to take the top spot on the podium, with Germany's Rudiger Selig (Leopard Trek) coming third on the 180km stage from Mouscron to Côte de Bonsecours.
McEwen will wear the leader's jersey on Friday's second stage, but he claims that he is not focused on winning the overall race.
"The overall victory is not the main objective here as we came for stage wins, but you never know," he said. "Most important is that I get ready for Paris-Tours, my last objective of the season."
A three-man breakaway consisting of Ronan Van Zandbeek (Skil-Shimano), David Lelay (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Jonathan Dewitte (Wallonie Bruxelles-Credit Agricole) made a breakaway after 55km and built up a six-minute lead, but were overhauled by the peloton in the closing stages.
1. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack
2. Adam Blythe (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto
3. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Leopard Trek
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen