E3 Harelbeke: Team Sky's Geraint Thomas breaks away from rivals to win on the cobbles

His victory is a boost to the team's moral ahead of their major spring goals

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The Independent Online

Wales’ Geraint Thomas claimed victory in the one-day E3 Harelbeke in Belgium on Friday to boost Team Sky’s morale ahead of their major spring goals.

The Commonwealth Games champion raced away from breakaway colleagues Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) with four kilometres to go in the 215km Belgian cobbled race.

In the same race Fabian Cancellara broke two vertebrae in a crash, ruling him out of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. His absence from the latter race is a boost to Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins, who is targeting a strong showing.

Stybar was second behind Thomas, but Sagan faded in the finale and Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) won the sprint for third.

Meanwhile, Sky’s Richie Porte assumed the lead at the Volta a Catalunya after Alejandro Valverde won yesterday’s fifth stage.

Australian Porte holds a five-second advantage over Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale), while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) sits third overall in the race,  which concludes tomorrow.