Etixx - Quick-Step riders Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Yves Lampaert made it into a front group of an exciting 183.4km Stage 1 of Ster ZLM Toer Jan van Heeswijk on Thursday, after the peloton split into pieces due to the wind. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) ultimately won the stage, and took over the race lead as the gaps were significant between groups. Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) was 2nd, and Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) finished 3rd. Lampaert crossed the line in 8th place.
A five-rider breakaway had as much as a 5'30" advantage, but was caught on the local circuits as the peloton split and the front group kept the pace high. Nikolas Maes tried to bridge with Gert Steegmans (Trek Factory Racing) to the front group, but the effort was unsuccessful.
Van Keirsbulck launched an attack out of the 38-rider selection inside 5km to go in hopes of preventing a sprint out of the front group, but he was caught. Several other attacks were also brought back as Lotto Soudal controlled the chase for Greipel.
The race heads next into two hilly stages with climbs of the Ardennes, followed by a conclusive flat stage.