Sylvain Chavanel defends Three Days of De Panne title
Last Updated: 28/03/13 4:58pm
Chavanel (L) celebrates his victory on the podium
History repeated itself at the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday with Sylvain Chavanel once again winning the final time trial stage to claim the overall title.
The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step man - who romped to victory in similar circumstances last season - proved the fastest rider on stage 3b after circumnavigating the 14.75km course in a time of 18 minutes 03 seconds.
Chavanel had needed just 11 seconds to wrestle the leader's jersey off Katusha's Alexander Kristoff before the stage, and was nine seconds up on previous best rider Anton Vorobyev (Katusha) at the first time check.
The Frenchman pressed on and put another eight seconds into Vorobyev before he crossed the finish line, with Dutch time trial champion Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) taking third place on the stage, a further two seconds adrift.
That meant the overall result was almost identical to last year, with Chavanel stealing the overall lead from stage 3a winner Kristoff, although this time improved his winning margin to 22 seconds.
Chavanel's teammate, Nikki Terpstra meanwhile, finished the concluding stage in fifth place, earning him third position overall.
After the stage Chavanel said: "I've been feeling good for quite a while now and I'm getting better and better every day. I think the next race [Tour of Flanders] will have stronger opponents but I'm happy to win for a second time here.
"I feel in better shape [compared to last year] and I always planned to finish well here. Paris-Roubaix is my main target for the coming weeks and the beginning of the season has gone very well for me.
"As for Flanders, I know the finish well and we'll see how I go, but if the strongest riders are in top condition then what can I do? I'll give it my best shot.
"First of all I'm going to look after my health after the last three days. I'm not a big fan of the Tour of Flanders and wouldn't regard myself as one of the big favourites but we have a great team and work very hard for each other."