Evans pounces to clinch victory in La Fleche Wallonne
WORLD Champion Cadel Evans came from nowhere to snatch victory for BMC in the one-day La Fleche Wallonne.
FINAL FLOURISH: Spain's Cadel Evans takes La Fleche Wallonne for BMC in the closing stages ahead of Astana's Alberto Contador (Getty Images)
The Australian overtook Astana's Alberto Contador in the final stages to finish ahead of the reigning Tour de France champion and claim the race in Belgium in a time of four hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds.
Contador faded away over the final sprint and was pushed down into third as Katusha rider Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver came through to take second.
Evans is thrilled to have finally won a race that has eluded him on his previous six attempts.
"It's great to win and it was brilliant to race with the rainbow jersey," he said.
"I've come so close to winning before with second and fifth place finishes so to finally take the race is fantastic.
"It was the first time I'd done any reconnaissance for the race, but I went out yesterday to take a look over the route and that obviously helped me today."
The race finished in spectacular style as the main peloton caught an earlier breakaway group just before the final climb up the fabled Mur de Huy.
RadioShack's Andreas Kloden tried to power clear soon after passing through the flamme rouge but Spaniard Contador loomed up behind him and looked poised to add another victory to his recent haul.
And Contador swooped into the lead with 300m to go but the final twist was still to come as Evans produced the decisive kick to land the spoils.
The 198km route between Charleroi and Huy was the penultimate of the three Ardennes Classics with the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race scheduled for Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the women's race it was a British one-two as Cervelo's Emma Pooley claimed victory ahead of three-times winner Nicole Cooke.
Pooley picked up the fourth World Cup win of her career as she took off on the steepest section of the final climb of the Mur de Huy to give her an unassailable lead and clock a time of 3 hours, 1 minute and 27 seconds.
Both Cooke and third placed Emma Johansson from Sweden finished eight seconds behind Pooley, who won the women's version of the Tour de France last year.
The Netherland's Marianne Vos, who had won the race for the previous three years, still tops the overall World Cup standings on 155 points with Pooley in fourth on 82 and Cooke just behind in fifth with 78.