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“Astana is a big team so I know that when you get a chance to win a race, you must take it. They gave me the chance here and I took it 200 per cent. On the first stage, I showed that I was ready, and after that, the team worked 200 pe...

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ALEX KIRSCH

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ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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ALEXEY LUTSENKO

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BMC RACING TEAM

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CHRISTIAN KNEES

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DANNY VAN POPPEL

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DRIEDAAGSE DE PANNE

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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IAN STANNARD

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JOHAN LE BON

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LIEUWE WESTRA

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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LUKA MEZGEC

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LUKE DURBRIDGE

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MACIEJ BODNAR

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MADS PEDERSEN

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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ONE PRO CYCLING

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QUICK-STEP FLOORS

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ROOMPOT - NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ

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SEAN DE BIE

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TOM BOHLI

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TONY MARTIN

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31.03.2016 @ 21:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Two years after taking his first international time trial win in De Panne, Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) did it again when he won a thrilling final stage of the 3 Days of De Panne. The Pole was less than a second faster than both Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Tom Bohli (BMC) which was enough to take the win in the closest time trial ever in the Belgian race. Lieuwe Westra (Astana) had to settle for fourth but that was enough to take the overall victory.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Lieuwe Westra: When yoy have the chance to lead Astana, you have to take it

"I was nervous,” said Lieuwe Westra. “After two second places I wanted to win. Finally it came.

 

"I did a good race, losing only three seconds to the winner Maciej Bodnar but especially earning 25 seconds on Kristoff and, at the end, that was what mattered.

 

“It feels great to win. I’ve been second a few times and I didn’t want to be second again today. Fortunately I had good legs and also during the three days of racing I had a very strong team behind me. They did a lot of work for me and so I have to thank them if I’ve been able to take the victory this time. I knew that the time trial would decide everything. I didn’t feel great but the time was fast and that’s what counts. It’s great to win De Panne. It’s a great race, an important race. I’m happy to win it.

 

“I’ve been so close to victory here a few times, I’ve been second a few times. I was just so nervous for the last three hours, the palms of my hands were sweating. I was thinking ‘I hope I’m not second again today.’”

 

“When I passed the finish line, I had pain all over: the feeling was not good, but the time was not bad. I lost three seconds on the stage but I gained on Kristoff. In the end, the race was good.

 

"When I started, I did not have good feelings. But sometimes when you have bad feelings, you do a good time trial. When I heard the time I saw it fine. At the end I think I did a perfect job. I'm really happy with this victory. Especially as I was very close several times here.

 

"It takes a lot of pressure off me. The last hours were really exciting, I could hardly handle it. I did not want to be second again. Because this is still a race in Belgium, huh. Some say ‘What are you doing in De Panne?’ But I really like it and I'm very proud.

 

"Today it was finally bingo. I had good legs but my feeling was not good. The happy end was not too bad. I must also thank Astana: it was a strong team that has worked hard for me.

 

“Astana is a big team so I know that when you get a chance to win a race, you must take it. They gave me the chance here and I took it 200 per cent. On the first stage, I showed that I was ready, and after that, the team worked 200 per cent for me to bring me in this position to the time trial.

 

“Sunday is a totally different race to here and it’s all for Lars Boom. He is our leader and we’ll try to do everything to bring him in to a good position.

 

“The distance isn’t a problem for me, I train every day. But I had the same question three or four years ago when I rode well here: people said, ‘Ah Lieuwe Westra, he can do a good Tour of Flanders.’ And then I was not good. I’m realistic. Lars is the leader and Lars has shown before he can ride very well in those kinds of races. I know my place in the team.”

 

Alexey Lutsenko: We proved that we have a very strong team for Flanders

"We have been a very strong team,” said Alexey Lutsenko, third overall,” and the victory in the team classification it is the clearest proof. We were united, we helped each other and the results proved us right.

 

"The time trial was very hard with the first 5-6 km with the wind in my face, but I'm happy because I arrived in the top ten and it was not easy.”

 

"A great result,” said sports director Stefano Zanini, “even in perspective of De Ronde. The captain will be Lars Boom, but I am sure that Westra, Lutsenko, De Vreese and Fuglsang will be protagonists of this great classic.”

 

Maciej Bodnar: To beat Tony Martin gives extra value to my win

Tinkoff's Polish time trial specialist, Maciej Bodnar, had been focused on the final stage time trial at the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde since losing a chunk of time on the tough opening stage, and he delivered on his promise to give it everything, racing to victory over the 14.2km course.

 

It came down to the wire in the end with Bodnar finishing in a time of 17'39", less than a second ahead of the other podium places, but it was enough to take the top step of the podium, the second time that he has won this stage after his victory in the 2014 edition of the race.

 

"Of course I'm extremely happy to win today, it's a really nice victory," Bodnar confirmed after his podium duties. "It's nice to take my second win in this race. In addition, the fact that I finished ahead of some strong specialists like Tony Martin is very encouraging for me, and I'm really satisfied with that.

 

“I’ve lost to Tony Martin by a second in the past and so it’s a pleasure to beat him this time, also because he’s a great rider and former world time trial champion. I didn’t ride last year but I won two years ago. It’s good to win again and winning like that is extra special.

 

 "I'm so happy with this victory. I beat triple world champion Martin in a time trial. In 2014 I was the fastest in the final time trial. Last year I was not ther because then I was having another program. 

 

"I gauged my time trial perfectly. In the first part I took it easy, to then give the second part full gas.


"It's a pity that the first day didn't go as planned, and afterwards my chances for the GC were very limited. It was visible that the work to help and support Peter Sagan at E3 and Gent - Wevelgem took its toll on my form. So I'm happy that I've recovered and could take the win today. Also, the fact that I started the TT early meant that I had less time to recover than the guys starting later, yet I still felt very strong which is a good sign. Now I'm looking forward to the next races starting with Flanders on Sunday."

 

The time trial followed the same route as it has done for a number of years now, racing around the city streets of De Panne, on a largely straight forward course that suits the specialists. There were three hair pin turns to negotiate but the roads were largely fast and open meaning that power was of importance. Bodnar won this stage back in 2014, on his way to third place overall in the race, and so he knew what was needed to take victory here.

 

Pavel Brutt also had a strong ride, finishing 25th, 1'04" down on his teammate. Juraj Sagan and Nikolay Trusov went into the stage in 17th and 19th overall, but with the TT not so much of a focus for either they slipped back to 27th and 20th respectively.


 Having followed Bodnar in the car during his effort, Sport Director Patxi Villa was very happy with the win.

 

"It was a really strong ride, he was focused, paced himself well, everything went perfectly - he really deserves the win. He was second at the Vuelta time trial last year and is consistently in the top ten, and is still improving, but it all came together today. He showed he's one of the best guys for this in the pro peloton.

 

"We've lost a few races by very small margins recently so to be on the other side is a nice feeling. It's good for the moral of the team and also for Bodnar. The whole team here did a great job, from the staff to the riders, but at the end he had to do the pedalling. I'm really really happy for him as he's a great guy and works really hard for the team so it's nice to get his reward too."

 

Alexander Kristoff: I am not a favourite for Flanders

After placing third in the first of two stages held at the 40th Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde on Thursday, Team KATUSHA’s Alexander Kristoff went into the afternoon time trial holding seven seconds on the general classification. The final results gave the KATUSHA leader second place on the podium and awarded him the Points jersey for the fourth time in his career. The overall winner was Lieuwe Westra (Astana) by 13-seconds.

 

”I was hoping to win the overall but I knew Westra is usually a better time trialist than me. I’m pretty satisfied with my time trial. Maybe there were a few places I could gain some seconds here and there, but, maybe, that was only two seconds. Last year I won every stage here except the time trial so it was a big success. I’m pretty satisfied with the way I went this year and the team worked very well. Especially today in the morning the team did a very good lead out, but Kittel was just faster than me,” said Alexander Kristoff, referring to the 111,5 km morning stage which ended in a group sprint won by Marcel Kittel of Etixx – Quick Step. Kristoff was third in the sprint behind Phil Bauhaus of Bora-Argon 18.

 

 

The afternoon time trial was won by Maciej Bodnar of Tinkoff, with Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick Step) and Tom Bohli (BMC) all on the same time of 17:39 for the 14,2 km course with the winning average at 48.272 km/h. Kristoff was eighth in the TT at 28 seconds and teammate Nils Politt was 13th (+0.42). Politt’s performance moved him to ninth overall at +1.19. Both of Thursday’s stages were in De Panne. Rounding out the final podium was Westra’s teammate Alexey Lutsenko at 16-seconds.

 

"I knew I was behind, but still not so much. I was still getting good feedback that my speed was ok. I tried to speed up but I couldn’t keep the power. I felt maybe a little bit stronger last year but I was sick last weekend so it’s usually normal to be a little bit weaker.

 

”My shape is not bad as I won the first stage, a really hard one, one of the hardest races I have ever done. It feels good to have won that one. Two third places are not bad either. At least I was on the podium, so I am not bad, but honestly I was stronger last year. We will see how it comes on Sunday,” said Kristoff as he looks to defend his title in the upcoming Tour of Flanders.

 

"I think I’m not the biggest favourite. I think that I will be among the favourites but Cancellara, Sagan and Greg they are maybe bigger favourites. I won last year but how they raced last week, especially Sagan in both races and Cancellara in Harelbeke, how strong he was there, makes it look to me that it will probably be hard for me to follow in the climbs. Still, usually I perform well in Flanders every year I’ve had a good result so I will hope I have the same feeling as last year.

 

"I still feel I have a few percent missing. I don’t know in numbers but I felt a little bit stronger last year. Today I did a good time trial but last year I was slightly stronger in the time trial so I feel maybe a few per cent worse than last year. Maybe that will change and I will feel better in a few days. Last weekend I was sick and I was feeling better day by day so hopefully on Sunday I’m good.

 

"You never know. It depends on the legs. Last year, I felt really strong and I could do move like that. The first days I was not feeling so strong so I had no chance of attacking the two Astana guys, it was enough just to follow. We will see how the legs are on Sunday.

 

“If I’m not strong enough to go away then maybe I will be strong enough to hang on. I will try to do that as best as possible and we will see if I can make it all the way to the final. I think that I will struggle to stay with them in the climbs but I will try at least.

 

"I have a good final, so I can win but still you must have some legs to sprint with. I have seen Cancellara beat many fast sprinters at the end of a long race because he’s just fresher so we will see."

 

"I stand by what I think, that is to say that I was stronger last year than I am today. I did a good time trial but not as good as last year which confirms my feeling. I think it might be enough for Sunday anyway. I miss a few percent compared to last year, but I was also sick last week and here, I felt better day by day. It can get even better by Sunday.

 

Tony Martin: Maybe I was tired after such a big block of racing

After helping teammate Marcel Kittel win the first half-stage of the day in the Belgian race, on Thursday morning, Tony Martin rolled down the ramp in the afternoon as one of the favourites in the 14.2 km-long individual time trial which was supposed to conclude the event. Eight in the standings, 50 seconds behind overall leader Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), the 30-year-old dug deep in the first part of the flat course, battling with the strong winds of De Panne, which made the life of the late starters really difficult.

 

In the second half of the stage, Tony Martin produced a strong performance on the parcours sprinkled with tight and tricky corners, and finished the stage as runner-up, with a time of 17:39, less than a second behind winner Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff). The impressive effort he put on Thursday helped Martin jump four positions in the general classification and conclude his first ever Driedaagse De Panne participation in fourth place, only 19 seconds off the podium.

 

"First of all, congratulations to Maciej for the victory, he was very strong today. The time trial was ok. I didn't make any mistake, it was just that I missed the last punch. You could say that I was a little bit tired, as I had a solid block of racing in the past weeks, with Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, the Paris-Roubaix recon and now Driedaagse, where I went full gas for the GC and also worked for Marcel. Learning wise, the race was totally worth it, because I gained a lot of experience, but eventually it took its toll on me. Now I will look forward to De Ronde, where I can't wait to start", said 30-year-old Tony Martin, one of the most successful riders in the history of Etixx – Quick-Step.


Tom Bohli pleased despite near-miss in De Panne

Tom Bohli narrowly missed out on his second time trial win of the season in an eventful two-stage final day of Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde.

 

The opening stage, a road race of 111.5km, saw a crash-marred bunch sprint to the line, won by Marcel Kittel. In the afternoon, a 14.2km individual time trial was the final decider for the General Classification and saw Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) just edge Tony Martin (Etixx Quick Step) and Bohli out of the win.

 

Bohli put in a brilliant ITT to smash the first intermediate point by four seconds at the 5.3km mark, and eventually finished in third place, just tenths of a second off the win.

 

“It was a pretty hard TT so I’m really happy with my result. This morning on the start line of the first stage I wasn’t feeling 100% so I was a bit worried about the time trial this afternoon. So I’m really happy that I managed to put in such a good TT,” Bohli said.

 

“I’m now trying to focus a bit more of my time trialling but it is certainly good proof for myself that my shape is good and I’m on the right track for the rest of the season.”

 

A solid three days of racing saw Loïc Vliegen take home the King of the Mountain jersey and Stefan Küng finish in seventh place on the General Classification.

 

“I’m really happy to take the King of the Mountain jersey home. I wanted to do something for my two friends who I lost this week. This jersey is for them too. I knew that I was in good form and I’m now going into Volta Limburg Classic on Saturday which is a good race for me, so I’ll try my best there too,” Vliegen said.

 

Sports Director Max Sciandri said it was a successful three days of racing for BMC Racing Team.

 

“It’s a tough race and when you look at the quality line up of riders who were there, I think we can walk away happy with our result. We didn’t get a win but Tom put in a great ride today, we took the KOM jersey, and were in the top ten on GC and third in the team classification. So all in all, a good result.”

 

Johan Le Bon confirms FDJ time trial progress in De Panne

The third day of the Three Days of De Panne was satisfactory for Marc Madiot's and Frédéric Guesdon's FDJ team. Their riders fulfilled their mission by preparing the best sprint for Marc Sarreau in the morning and by seeing Johan Le Bon deliver a new excellent performance in the individual time trial where he finished in fifth place.

 

"Johan confirms his level," says Frédéric Guesdon. "He hasfound his stride in the race against the clock. He was beaten by four strong riders and ends behind the winner Bodnar (Tinkoff) who crossed the finish line in the same second as Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Bohli (BMC). Westra (Astana)who wins the overall standings, is 3 seconds behind. Johan is ahead of good specialists and takes more and more confidence in this discipline. His race allows him to get into  the Top 10 at the Three Days of the Panne and thus this makes us regret his time lose late in the first stage that cost him 23 seconds. Without this he would have finished fifth in the Belgian race."

 

In the morning, Marc Sarreau did a good sprint and finished 6th.

 

"His teammates positioned him where he had to be, in the wheel of Marcel Kittel who won the stage. Marc saw the Katusha train and jumped onto the wheel Kristoff but there was a swerve and he lost both. It a shame but it is also how he learns.And he learns well!"

 

Another top 10 for Luke Durbridge in De Panne

Australian Luke Durbridge held onto sixth place in the final general classification ofDriedaasge De Panne-Koksijde, producing a top ten performance in the individual time trial to seal the result.

 

Three days of consistent team performances by ORICA-GreenEDGE kept Durbridge in safe positions throughout the most important moments of the race. After spending over 140kilometres in the breakaway with teammate Jens Keukeleire on stage one, Durbridge had the legs and the intelligence to hold on for his second consecutive top ten finish in the race.

 

The race was won by Lieuwe Westra (Astana) with last year’s winner Alexander Kristoff (Team-Katusha) beaten into second place by only 13seconds. Westra produced a strong time trial that also saw him leapfrog his teammate Alexey Lutrsenko (Astana) to take the overall victory.

 

Sports director Laurenzo Lapage was happy with how the team performed throughout the three-day race.

 

“Luke (Durbridge) and the team have been fantastic throughout the race,” said Lapage. “I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Top ten on the general classification for the second year running is a positive result.

 

“We knew on the first stage that we needed to be in the right places when the attacks came because those time differences were going to be the important factors going into the last stage.

 

“Luka (Mezgec) was getting closer in the sprint everyday and he did really well to place 5th against some very fast guys this morning.”

 

Lapage continued by praising the spirit and attitude within the squad.

 

“Everybody has been relaxed and motivated, happy to work for each other. This is always very important but at this stage of the season it gives us confidence for the big races that are coming up.”

 

Mads Pedersen best young rider in tough 3 Days of De Panne

On the final day of the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde (2.HC) Mads Pedersen showed another great performance. Placing 17th on the finishing time trial, he defended the lead in the U23 classification and reached the 8th place in the final GC.

 

Because of a crash in the final turn that impeded several riders, Mads Pedersen and Alex Kirsch couldn’t sprint with the best in the morning stage and rolled in on positions 22 and 23. The decision about the overall victory would be made in the 14.2 km afternoon time trial. Mads Pedersen finished the week with another excellent performance. He placed 17th in the time trial, 49 seconds behind Bodnar. Even though he was leapfrogged by a few strong time trialists including the former world champion Tony Martin in GC, he could defend his lead in the classification of U23 riders and won the Trofee Bernard Van de Kerckhove. Alex Kirsch also did well in the time trial with a 23rd place and ended the race as 15th overall.

 

Sports Director André Steensen said: “It was a very good race for us. With team spirit and physical strength we got some good results and have new confidence ahead of the next races. Mads and Alex confirmed their strength in the time trial, they rode very well throughout the race and showed their potential for the classics. However, it’s important to say that they could never have achieved these results without the help of their teammates. Reihs, Jonas, Carbel and Lasse worked hard to support Alex and Mads and keep them fresh for the final.”

 

“For me, the morning stage was about saving power for the time trial,” said Mads Pedersen. “The guys protected me well from the wind and crashes. I only had to think about crossing the line in one piece – respect to my teammates! In the time trial I dug deep, concentrated on defending my top 10 position, and succeeded in that. I’m happy about the last days’ achievements and proud of my team for believing in me and supporting me so well.”

 

Ill Scott Thwaites skips time trial in 3 Days of De Panne

In the concluding time trial, Lukas Pöstlberger set an early best time in 18:42. The young Austrian showed that he has some goals in mind regarding the time trials. His time was top of the leader board until Bodnar, one of the specialists, set a new best time. In the end he finished the stage in 24th place. Also Jan Bárta did a good performance today. With the time of 18:19 he finished the stage as the best BORA – ARGON 18 rider in 11th place 0:38 down on the winner. With this result the Czech time trial champion confirmed his improved shape.

 

Scott Thwaites did not start in the time trial. The best placed BORA – ARGON 18 rider in the GC did not feel 100% after today’s stage 3a, he decided to not take any risk for the Ronde van Vlaanderen this Sunday.

 

“After a little illness two weeks ago and several crashes the last days, this was really an important sign for me. The performance was good in the TT and now I can see also that my shape is building up. Hillier time trials normally suit better to my riding style, so this flat one was not a perfect course for me. My goal was to make a top 20 result, but after all the problems the last days and weeks, I am really happy with todays TT,” said Lukas Pöstlberger.

 

“Scott did not feel 100% in the morning stage. We then decided together that it is better to not take any risks for the Tour of Flanders. Therefore he did not start in the TT. I think with the first podium from Phil this morning we had already a really good result on this last day. The team really did a great job to achieve this. Also Jan is getting better and better which is good to see, even tough he still is not at 100% of his best performance level,” said Enrico Poitschke, sports director.

 

Roompot rider close to the top 10 in De Panne

Berden de Vries took did well for Roompot - Orange Peloton. The former winner of Olympia's Tour finished twelfth.

 

De Vries laid the foundation for the fine finishing position in the tough opening stage through the Flemish Ardennes. Alongside Michel Kreder (18th), he finished in a select first peloton as 19th.

 

In the second stage, Ivar Slik was a lot on television. The 22-year-old talent spent more than 165 kilometers in the break. His shape is growing and that earned him not only 49tj place in the final standings, but also a place in the team for the Tour of Flanders. Raymond Kreder was 6th in th sprint.

 

Raymond Kreder had to settle for ninth place in today’s morning stage. A crash in the final turn caused delays for other sprinters in the team and the opportunities for André Looij were thus gone.

 

In the hectic final phase of the penultimate stage Berden de Vries crashed. "That was obviously a scare because I took a nice tumble,” he said. "At that moment I thought that my chances for the time trial were gone, but I was happy with my ride.” De Vries finished 19th. "I'm happy with my level. Perhaps a top 10 would have been possible.” 

 

No victory for Marcin Bialoblocki in De Panne time trial

The course might have been short in length but the technical aspects including 3 dead turns and 5 roundabouts meant riders had to stay fully focused throughout their effort. First to roll off the start ramp for ONE was Marcin Bialoblocki, the Polish National Champion was 2nd at the intermediate time check and 2nd over the finish line in a time of 18.22, later slipping to 15th position overall.

 

Next up, Kristian House took to the course taking his new Factor TT bike on its debut run finishing in a creditable time of 19.43. Last but not least, the youngest member of the squad at De Panne, Hayden McCormick tackled the technical corners, twists and turns of the course to finish in a time of 19.20.

 

After the completion of all three stages at the Three Days of De Panne, Hayden McCormick was the best placed rider, finishing in 36th position on the General Classification.

 

Next on the cards, the team have a very busy weekend coming up as one squad travel to Holland for Volta Limburg, while another will make their way to Spain for GP Miguel Indurain and Vuelta a la Rioja.

 

Sean De Bie uncertain for Tour of Flanders

Lars Bak and Marcel Sieberg didn’t participate in the time trial to take some rest before the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. Also Sean De Bie didn’t start, he had some stomach ache and it’s not sure whether he’ll race on Sunday.

 

Sky takes confidence from De Panne: We have the best team in Flanders

Team Sky Sport Director Brett Lancaster believes that everyone within Team Sky is ready for the Tour of Flanders after an encouraging Three Days of De Panne.

 

The team ticked off the final day in Belgium, which included the morning's short 111km stage, while Danny van Poppel recorded the highest finish in the afternoon's 14km time trial, coming home 31st.

 

But Lancaster admitted the team were up against it on the final day with only four riders left competing, after Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard had pulled out of the race ahead of Sunday's Monument.

 

He said: "The guys had a plan this morning but we were down to only four riders, so that was a huge factor. They moved up quite late for the final right turn but were just a little bit too far back. We'd said in the pre-stage meeting that we had to get to that corner in the front three or we wouldn't be in the mix.

 

"Unfortunately the guys didn't get that right but they've had a good week and they'll take a lot out of these three days. For the upcoming races I think they're all in really good shape.

 

"Elia [Viviani]'s win on day two gave us a huge morale boost and going into this weekend everyone - riders, mechanics, carers, staff - is in a great mood."

 

In the morning Viviani and Van Poppel both avoided a late crash in the midst of that final tight turn 200m from the finish, but were unable to fully launch their sprints on day three in Belgium.

 

Van Poppel emerged from the final corner as the highest placed Team Sky rider but was too far back to mount a serious challenge and the Dutchman rolled home 12th behind stage 3a winner Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step).

 

Christian Knees had led the charge on the right-hand side of the road for Team Sky heading into the final bend, but Etixx - Quick-Step guided Kittel safely round in a prime position before the crash just behind slowed the majority of the bunch up.

 

In the time trial Van Poppel finished 1'12" down on Bodnar in 31st, Viviani a second further back in 34th and Andy Fenn finished 43rd. After racing in the morning Knees dropped out before the time trial.

 

Van Poppel did wrap up the intermediate sprint jersey on the final day and Lancaster praised the Dutchman as he continued his recovery from injury.

 

He added: "Danny is a massive talent. He missed a lot with his injury and to be at the level he's at now is very impressive. I think - well, I know - that later in the season once he gets some racing in his legs you'll see a lot more from him at the likes of the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of California. He'll really be in top shape then. He's been very impressive this week."

 

And the Australian confirmed that Stannard, Rowe and Knees are raring to go for Flanders.

 

"Luke has had a lot of hard racing over the past few weeks and he really wants to be fresh for Sunday. I believe he will be and we've got a super strong group there - it's probably the strongest out of any team. He's in good spirits, great condition and he's really ready for Sunday and then Roubaix as well.

 

"Ian is fine, he's doing really well, and he's super motivated for Sunday. He's been taking it easy these last few days and helping out the team where he could with the bigger picture in sight.

 

"Christian raced this morning and he's also getting ready for Sunday. He's in really good condition, and he's always in the right place when he needs to be. He's one of the best team-mates you could have on your side."

 

Difficult final day for Lampre-Merida in De Panne

In the first semi-stage, LAMPRE-MERIDA focused on Marko Kump who had crossed the as 11th in the 2nd stage and was promoted to 9th place because of the disqualification of two riders.
 

Today, the Slovenian rider was 10th in the sprint which was characterized by a crash in the final bend: this turn is traditionally crucial for the result of the race and today it became even more decisive.
 

Kump did not approach the bend in the front positions and he could not pass the riders who were ahead of him.
 

LAMPRE-MERIDA didn’t have many goals in the afternoon in the individual time trial, also because there were no blue-fuchsia-green riders fighting for the top positions of the general classification. The best performance of the team of the sports directors Scirea and Pedrazzini was from Zurlo, 83rd at 2’15”.

 

Pibernik is 42nd at 5’48” in the overall standings.

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