Burley-in-Wharfedale cyclist Scott Thwaites had to settle for sixth place after another encouraging ride in the classic Belgian Nokere Koerse race.

Thwaites, who has enjoyed a good start to his European season, was edged out of a podium place in a mass sprint at the end of the 200 kilometers from Ronse to Nokere.

In the last stage, a 15-kilometer circuit had to be completed eight times. Bel-gian Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) took the win ahead of fellow countryman Tom van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen) with French-man Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ). Thwaites led the NetApp-Endura pros home.

“It was a tough, fast race, and the boys rode really well, especially starting out,” said NetApp Endura team director André Schulze.

“Up until the end we had two riders in the lead group, Jan Barta and Michael Schwarzmann, but the pack unfortunately caught up with them in the last few kilometers. “The team set up the sprint for Scott, putting him in a good position 350metres before the finish line.

“You have to keep in mind that it is a technically highly challenging stretch down to the finish, going downhill first then rising in the last several meters on cobble-stones.

“The position came a little bit early for Scott, so he was unable to hold up with the sprint for the podium up front,” The stage saw a group of 15 riders break away after 50 kilometres.

NetApp-Endura’s Jan Barta and Michael Schwarz-mann made it into this group. The breakaway group did not achieve a significant lead, however. Instead, the riders fell back one after the other.

On the final lap the last riders from the breakaway were caught and the race was decided in a mass sprint.