Edvald Boasson Hagen emerged from a scrappy sprint finish to claim fifth place at Gent-Wevelgem.
The Norwegian was forced to battle his way into position during a claustrophobic bunch kick which saw a number of top contenders fighting for the same piece of road.
Alongside team-mate Christian Knees, Boasson Hagen had made his way into the right side of a late split in the bunch but could not prevent Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) from taking his second win in three days.
The Belgian proved his form once again as he held off the attentions of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Matti Breschel (Rabobank) into Wevelgem to take his second win in as many years in the 235.4-kilometres ‘sprinters' classic’.
Attacks off the Kemmelberg and onto the final climb of the race saw a number of favourites including Team Sky’s Mark Cavendish distanced on the flat run into the finish.
A gap of 25 seconds grew out into an unbridgeable margin to deny the world champion the chance to sprint for victory despite looking comfortable on the ‘hellingen’ all race long.
Despite the gutsy efforts of Ian Stannard and Mathew Hayman to pull things back, after the finish Cavendish explained how bad luck had seen the bunch fracture just over 30 kilometres from home.
He said: “We got isolated before the Monteberg. It’s the usual thing, you just have to be behind the one wheel that loses the wheel. We turned left off the Kemmelberg and it was one line, the rider in front lost the wheel. It wasn’t that hard but by the time you look up you’ve lost 30 metres and you can’t really get across.
“Normally if you are top-25 over the Kemmelberg you are usually alright and I was top-25 so I thought I was laughing. Next time I’ll have to be in the top-10.”
Sports Director Steven de Jongh added: “Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out as planned but I think the boys rode a good race. As a team they rode really well - they were all there over the ‘Kemmel’ and you don’t expect to be caught out on the descent when you are that high up in the pack.
Earlier nine riders had ventured on up the road as the race headed towards the Belgian coast, the gap spinning all the way out to nine minutes and 10 seconds with the peloton relaxed enough to let the terrain wear down the escapees before giving chase.
Despite its early positioning, the hammer went down second time over the Casselberg as GreenEDGE took to the front, splitting the peloton in half with a number of big names caught out in the splits.
Right behind the Australian outfit were Team Sky who were well represented in the front split; Cavendish to the fore on the early climbs.
Things eventually came back together and remained so during the first passage over the Kemmelberg, a large group still intact heading into the final two climbs.
The second passage of the Kemmelberg looked to have been negotiated comfortably but with a number of attackers looking to distance the sprinters, late attacks were inevitable.
Following his crash on Friday Fabian Cancallara (RadioShack-Nissan) emerged, driving hard on the front as a group of seven riders including Sagan tried to break clear. Behind the peloton itself fractured, with Cavendish caught in the second group that was initially just 25 tantalising seconds out.
The last two surviving members of the break, Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Anders Lund (Saxo Bank) were finally hauled back with 16km to go as the gap to the chase group extended out.
With no one willing to help in the chase efforts, all that was left for Cavendish was a defiant attempt to bridge across before admitting it was game over for the group.
Knees attempted a late dig inside 5km to go but was unable to power clear of a focussed peloton and the inevitable bunch sprint.
After the finish Boasson Hagen described the final metres, the 24-year-old admitting: "It was a really tight finish and there was a lot of pushing.
"I didn’t want to crash so I had to tell the guy who tried to go through me that it wasn’t possible. The plan was that if Mark wasn’t in the first group then I could sprint; if he’d been there I would have done the lead-out."