Three Days of De Panne 2013: stages 3a and 3b – report

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has successfully defended his title at the Three Days of De Panne.

The Frenchman won the final stage time trial to wrap up overall victory for the second successive year.

His victories concluded a successful Driedaagse for OPQS, after Mark Cavendish won the second stage.

Sylvain Chavanel celebrates a second successive overall victory in the Driedaagse van De Panne

Chavanel said: “I like to race, it doesn’t matter which race.

“I like this race a lot, however. Now I have 48 hours to recover after this double victory and be ready for the race on Sunday.”

The Ronde Van Vlaanderen, the race to which Chavanel had referred, will be a key objective for his Belgian team, whose leader, Tom Boonen, will be the defending champion.

Chavanel became the second rider to pull on the white jersey of race leader in a single day, thanks to a split stage.

Earlier in the day, crowds in west Flanders had witnessed the first installment, stage 3A, end in a sprint, won by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).

The Norwegian, who had put in a feisty performance to form part of a breakaway on yesterday’s second stage, outsprinted Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and Elia Viviani (Cannondale Pro Cycling).

Kristoff, a top 10 finisher at Milan-San Remo earlier this month, said: “It was important to stay in front after the last corner, I took a good gap over the rivals and I managed to keep it even if I started my rush quite early.”

His victory was sufficient to gain a four-second lead in the general classification over Arnaud Demare (FDJ), the previous holder of the leader’s white jersey.

Chavanel sealed overall victory by winning the final stage, wearing the colours of French national time trial champion

But Kristoff, who began the day with a 10-second advantage over Chavanel, was among those swept aside by the Frenchman’s superb demonstration of his time trial abilities on a technical course.

Chavanel attained victory on the 14.7km with a time of 18.02, the quickest by some 19 seconds.

“My objective is to maintain this form until Paris-Roubaix,” he said.

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