Sylvain Chavanel first French winner of A Travers les Flandres

Succeeds Belgian sprinting ace Tom Boonen

French cyclist Sylvain Chavanel became the first French winner of the semi-classic A Travers les Flandres in Brussels on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Cofidis rider, who succeeded Tom Boonen of Belgium as champion, beat home Steven de Jongh of the Netherlands by 26 seconds while Belgian rider Niko Eeckhout finished third in the same time over the 200 kilometres race.

Chavanel's victory comes in a race which is a lead-up to the classic Tour of Flanders on April 6. Chavanel was ecstatic at his victory but admitted the Tour of Flanders was going to be a tougher nut to crack.

"It is the first time I have competed in Flanders and my first win," he said. "It is wonderful. I will race in the Tour of Flanders but that will be another story," he added.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008

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