Driedaagse De Panne -Sagan wins stage 1


One – two for Cannondale as Peter Sagan and Oscar Gatto photo finish on stage 1 of Driedaagse De Panne in Belgium

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 Driedaagse De Panne -Sagan wins stage 1

A fast start to stage one prevented the early break from taking shape until nearly halfway into the second hour of racing. Seventy kilometres from the finish, the peloton finally relented.


Peter Sagan edges Gatto out of top spot … Photo: driedaagse.be 

Five riders slipped up the road, joined by a sixth rider several kilometres later. The break built up a maximum advantage of 4’15 at the mid-point of the race before FDJ.fr assumed position at the front of the bunch and began to chase.

When Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) attacked on the Tenbosse, Mathew Hayman latched onto Ligthart’s wheel. The duo bridged across as collaboration in the original break waned. By the time Hayman and Ligthart reached the leaders after 22 kilometres of chasing, attacks had begun in the peloton.

As the peloton closed in on the leaders over the hills around Zottegem, the break began to splinter. Twenty kilometres from the finish Hayman soon found himself back in the bunch. The rest of his breakaway companions eventually joined him.


Early break. Photo: driedaagse.be 

High speeds and crashes caused repeated splits and regroupings amongst the nervous peloton. An attack from Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) on the Leberg forced a new group clear on the Lagendries. By that time, Cannondale had come to the front, setting up Sagan and Oscar Gatto (Cannondale) to lead a contingent across to the leaders. Inside the final ten kilometres, the move had all the marks of the winning breakaway.

Although Orica-GreenEdge’s time trialist Luke Durbridge missed the race winning move on the Eikenmolen just inside the final ten kilometres, he was able to jump from the bunch in pursuit of the stage favourite.


FDJ working for their sprinter, RideLondonClassic winner Demare. Photo: driedaagse.be 

With Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) for company, Durbridge got within 4” of the leaders before the gap stretched out slightly again ahead of the line slotting into 13th place, Durbridge lost 11” on the likes of Sagan, Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and defending champion Niki Terpstra but put 9” into the peloton that stopped the clock at 19”.

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde has come down to the final time trial the past two editions, so any time gaps and bonus seconds are crucial for the sprinters on riders like Durbridge.


Photo: driedaagse.be 

Ooops, Sagan takes Gatto’s Victory
Whilst Peter Sagan won the stage, it was a team goal to take Gatto to the finish for the win. “I was just working for Oscar” said Sagan “and my aim was to lead him out in the best way,” said Sagan.

“I forced the pace at 10 km to create a select group and have less contenders for him in the finale. In the sprint, I pushed hard and then moved to the right to let him pass. I really thought he was coming back”.

“I’m happy that the team took another victory, but at the same time I’m sorry for Oscar. My teammates did great work to help me and many times people don’t see this on TV. Today I had the chance to pay back their efforts and I wanted to race as domestique – this is the only pity in another great day for Cannondale Pro Cycling,” added Sagan.

The true feeling among the riders today is also highlighted by Oscar Gatto, “Peter apologized to me many times, but he didn’t need to. All together we did a bold performance and we deserved to win. We are a strong team and tight-knit group and I’m happy to continue to work for Peter in future” said the stage runner up

Tomorrow at the second day of Driedaagse De Panne, Zottegem-Koksijde, Sagan will be at the start with the GC leader jersey.

1 SAGAN Peter Cannondale    4:29:39
2 GATTO Oscar Cannondale
3 VANBILSEN Kenneth Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
4 STEEGMANS Gert Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5 DE VREESE Laurens Wanty – Groupe Gobert
6 FINETTO Mauro Neri Sottoli
7 JEROME Vincent Team Europcar
8 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9 BAUGNIES Jerome Wanty – Groupe Gobert
10 CORDEEL Sander Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace

12 DéMARE Arnaud FDJ.fr @ 00:11
13 DURBRIDGE Luke Orica GreenEDGE
14 KITTEL Marcel Team Giant-Shimano @ 00:19
15 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
21 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
31 RENSHAW Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
42 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura
52 HOOGERLAND Johnny Androni Giocattoli – Vezuela
63 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura



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