Chavanel Wins Driedaagse De Panne With Blazing TT Performance

March 29, 2012 Updated: March 29, 2012
Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-Quick Step rides during the Stage Eight uphill time trial of the 2012 Paris-Nice cycling race. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-Quick Step rides during the Stage Eight uphill time trial of the 2012 Paris-Nice cycling race. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Sylvain Chavanel, riding for Omega-Pharma-Quickstep, became the first French winner of the Driedaagse De Panne with a dominating performance in the final time trial.

The French rider’s time of 17:49:35 beat the second fastest time by almost four seconds over the flat, 9.13-mile (14.7-km) course.

Chavanel had been at or near the front through most of the three-day event, leading the chases and joining the major moves. This kept him in striking distance for the final stage.

“First of all I am super happy with this victory,” Chavanel told velonation.com. “This year I hadn’t won until now, and a lot of our riders have already won. It was a little disappointing that I was riding well but unable to win a race.

“I am also happy because this victory came in a time trial,” he continued. “I worked a lot during the winter on the time trial because, in the past, I was a three-time French champion time triallist. I used to be a good rider for the time trial, but in the last year, because of my back problem, I wasn’t able to perform well.

“This winter I worked a lot on my position with the team staff and Specialized [bike manufacturer] staff, and now we begin to see some results. I was fourth in Argentina, sixth in the Stage 1 Paris-Nice time trial, so I am reaching my objectives with my time-trial bike.”

Vacansoliel’s Lieuwe Westra took second in General Classification with a time of 17:53:12. Westra was tied with Chavanel coming into the final stage; the Dutch rider, though 13 seconds quicker than third-placed Svein Tuft of GreenEdge, simply wasn’t having as good a day as Chavanel.

Maciej Bodnar of Liquigas-Cannondale came home 19 seconds down, good enough for fifth in the stage and third overall.

Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff, who had held the leader’s jersey for two days, couldn’t time trial as well as he could sprint; at 1:19 behind the leader, he dropped from the top ten.

None of the local teams managed to make the top 10. The new Australian team GreenEdge, got three riders into the top 10, matching superteam Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

Kristoff Kept Lead After Stage 3a

Katusha rider Alexander Kristoff sprinted to his first international victory in Stage 3a of the Driedaagse De Panne. (Wikimedia)
Katusha rider Alexander Kristoff sprinted to his first international victory in Stage 3a of the Driedaagse De Panne. (Wikimedia)

Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff earned his first international victory by winning the bunch sprint at the end of Stage 3a, held earlier in the day.

Stage 3a, a 69.59-mile (112-km) loop through the countryside around De Panne, had a few small hills but nothing even remotely like a challenging climb; the sprinters were fresh enough to fight it out at the end. Kristoff beat such notables as Astana’s Jacopo Guarnieri, Lotto’s André Greipel, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Francesco Chicchi.

“I did it in 2010 also, so I remember the cobbles, and I also saw it one time before the finish line,” Kristoff told Sporza TV, according to Velonation.com. “It’s difficult; sprinting on cobbles is not so easy, your wheels are jumping around; but I felt strong and the team did a very good effort, keeping me in the front.

“I had the best lead-out at the end and I could save energy in the last few K’s and in the sprint I felt strong,” the Norwegian explained. “Okay, I started a bit early, and almost, at the end, some guys come on my side, but I managed to hold them off.”

“I’m really happy with the victory,” he added.

A breakaway by Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen,) Rob Goris (Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas,), Clinton Avery (Champion System,) Jonathan Breyne (Landbouwkrediet,) and Andrea Di Corrado (Colnago-CSF Inox,) was predictably run down with 6 km to go.

Despite a pair of crashes in the final three kilometers, Katusha remained undistracted and got their man, Alexander Kristoff, to the 250-meter mark in the lead, and the 25-year-old Norwegian sprinter did the rest.

Despite holding the leader’s jersey for two stages, Kristoff knew he would be sorely challenged in the final 14.7-km time trial; the top 42 riders, including some TT specialists, were within 12 seconds of the Katusha rider’s time.

Many of these riders will be heading to the Tour of Flanders Sunday. Many riders use the Driedaagse De Panne as a tune-up for this important one-day Classic.

Driedaagse De Panne Stage 3b

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

Sylvain Chavanel

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:17:49

2

Lieuwe Westra

Vacansoleil-DCM

0:00:04

3

Svein Tuft

GreenEdge

0:00:17

4

Niki Terpstra

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:00:18

5

Maciej Bodnar

Liquigas-Cannondale

0:00:19

6

Jesse Sergent

Radioshack-Nissan

0:00:22

7

Tomas Vaitkus

GreenEdge

0:00:31

8

Luke Durbridge

GreenEdge

0:00:32

9

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:00:38

10

Stijn Devolder

Vacansoleil-DCM

0:00:39

General Classification

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

Sylvain Chavanel

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

12:05:44

2

Lieuwe Westra

Vacansoleil-DCM

0:00:04

3

Maciej Bodnar

Liquigas-Cannondale

0:00:14

4

Svein Tuft

GreenEdge

0:00:17

5

Niki Terpstra

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

0:00:18

6

Jesse Sergent

Radioshack-Nissan

0:00:22

7

Luke Durbridge

GreenEdge

0:00:32

8

Stijn Devolder

Vacansoleil-DCM

0:00:39

9

Markel Irizar Aranburu

Radioshack-Nissan

0:00:51

10

Sébastien Turgot

Europcar

0:00:55