Cycling: Veteran Flecha gives Sky a first Classic but Cavendish misses out

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The Independent Online

Team Sky's superb first season scaled new heights as their Spanish Classics specialist Juan Antonio Flecha soloed to victory in Belgium's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (formerly the Het Volk race), one of north Europe's biggest one-day events.

Dubbed the nearly man of Classics racing following a string of podium places in events as prestigious as Paris-Roubaix, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, 32-year-old Flecha triumphed for the British team after a 20km lone breakaway and nearly six hours of riding on Saturday. "I've been knocking at the door many times in these races and finally the door has caved in," Flecha said.

Yesterday the British sprinter Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) was denied his first win of 2010 as runner-up in Spain's Clasica Almeria, while Sky's Ian Stannard was third in the one-day Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

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