De Panne: Win for Gilbert

Final stage of the Three Days of De Panne saw Luke Durbridge win the time trial but Philippe Gilbert’s 7th was enough to win the overall

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De Panne: Win for Gilbert

Final stage of the Three Days of De Panne saw Luke Durbridge win the time trial but Philippe Gilbert’s 7th was enough to win the overall

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele

The Belgian Champion finished first overall at a stage race for the seventh time in his career. Victorious on the tough opening stage, which included a double ascension of the famed Muur van Geraardsbergen, the 34-year-old extended his lead on the following day helped by a stunning ride of the Quick-Step Floors squad in the echelons, where the team helped blow the peloton to pieces, before capping off his impressive week with a composed display in the individual time trial.

The stage was won by Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) a smidge ahead of Frenchman Sylvain Chavenel and two seconds on Kristoff. Another rider more known for sprinting, former Junior World ITT Champion Marcel Kittel, came fourth after finding early his flowing rhythm in the time trial and scorching the 14.2km-long course in 17:41

Gilbert: “In a time trial it is always a question of remaining focused before and during the race. Before rolling down the ramp, I got news of Marcel’s result and this gave me extra motivation to do well. I was always in control while being out on the course and securing the victory here makes me very happy”, said Philippe, only the second Belgian Champion in history to win Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.

“Last year, Quick-Step Floors and Patrick Lefevere put their trust in me and I’m glad to bring home this victory and repay them for the confidence showed. Also, I must thank my teammates, because they kept me safe and rode their hearts out to make sure I’ll win this race”, continued Gilbert after claiming his seventh career stage race.

“I think it was the right choice to prepare for Ronde van Vlaanderen here and I’m really satisfied with how I felt and with the outcome. I’m motivated for Sunday and I look forward to this beautiful race. Hopefully, it will turn out to be another good one for our team.”

Photo ©

Luke Durbridge (Orica Scott): I am really elated to get the win, I have been really consistent lately but a win is totally different,” Durbridge explained after the finish. “It has been a while since I have had a win so I am really happy with today. Obviously I was dissapointed with yesterday, making mistakes and missing the split and that made me more fired up for today.

“I have done this time trial maybe five times now so I know it well and I went out as hard as I could. It was great to finish off with a win after all the teamwork from the guys, they helped me out a lot each day.”

Second on GC for Matthias Brändle
“I am disappointed,” admitted Brändle. “I wanted to win here; there are no excuses. Today I just didn’t have the legs. Actually, it was not a bad TT. I did pretty well; five seconds is not a lot, and on the other hand it is a lot because four guys were faster than me. But I gave everything.”

“I had a super, super good team here who worked hard for me and protected me for the second GC,” added Matthias. “Again I had another chance in a TT, and it’s really time to win one. I really wanted to pay back all the hard work by the team with a win. So many times I come so close, and it didn’t happen again today. At least the shape is good from Tirreno, Catalunya, and now, here. It’s been a lot of racing, and it’s time for a little rest now.”
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Third on GC for Kristoff
His result in the individual time trial showed the full fighting spirit of the Norwegian rider when he took third place on the stage (+.02) and secured third overall on the general classification, 43-seconds behind overall winner Philippe Gilbert of Quick-Step Floors. “I wanted to go hard and see how the legs are, and I’ve done a good TT here before so I knew it would suit me quite well” Kristoff explained.

“I did not expect to be so close to the win. I heard (director) Schmidt say I had a good time but for me a good time would be 30-seconds behind the best so I didn’t really know I was fighting for the victory. Maybe I could have squeezed out two seconds more if I had realized it was this close but you never know,”
added Alexander Kristoff.

Talking about the defeat in the morning to Kittel, Kristoff explained “I think Marcel wanted revenge from yesterday and when he came next to me I really tried to put my head down and push with everything I had but he had the fresh legs and more power than me.”

“I could not hold him off today. My team did a really good job and at the end we were always in front. I came into the last corner in perfect position. It’s just that one guy had the stronger legs in the end and a better sprint.”

“I also did a good sprint and I am happy with the way the team and I rode today. We were good as a unit,” explained Alexander Kristoff who also earned the Points jersey on the general classification.

Stage 3B
1. Luke Durbridge ORICA-Scott
2. Sylvain Chavanel Direct Energie
3. Alexander Kristoff Team Katusha – Alpecin 02
4. Marcel Kittel Quick-Step Floors :03
5. Matthias Brändle Trek – Segafredo :05
6. Alexander Edmondson ORICA-Scott :09
7. Philippe Gilbert Quick-Step Floors :17
8. Nils Politt Team Katusha – Alpecin 10:31
9. Peter Koning Aqua Blue Sport 0:36
10. Olivier Pardini WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect 0:39

75. Adam Blythe Aqua Blue Sport 2:05

1. Philippe Gilbert Quick-Step Floors
2. Matthias Brändle Trek – Segafredo 0:38
3. Alexander Kristoff Team Katusha – Alpecin 00:43
4. Sylvain Chavanel Direct Energie 0:58
5. Pierre-Luc Perichon Fortuneo – Vital Concept 1:39
6. Maxime Vantomme WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect 1:50
7. Edward Theuns Trek – Segafredo 1:54
8. Pim Ligthart Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij 2:10
9. Boy van Poppel Trek – Segafredo 2:24
10. Jasper de Buyst Lotto Soudal 2:46
11. Luke Durbridge ORICA-Scott 2:50



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