Three Days of De Panne 1: Kristoff (but Devolder...)

Embedded image permalinkRace radio says they are expecting 60 km/h winds, mostly tail wind so a fast race. Sunny. 
The first 12 km neutralised, crashes anyway just out of it. 
Seven riders in front: Archbold, Barbin, Dufrasne, Grosu, Hulsmans, Rickaert and Vermeulen. Just 30" lead. Easily caught. 
The peloton flies in the wind at 56.2 Km/h.
Embedded image permalinkLars Bak gets a gap, Jan Debusschere on his wheel. 35 km to go they have 1'. Behind a group of 8 riders get off the peloton on the Leberg. The leading duo's advantage is decreasing: only 30'' with 25 km to go. Move neutralised but  Sean DeBie, Stijn Devolder, Alexander Kristoff and Sven Bystrøm managed to join Lars Bak and Jan Debusschere. 
Embedded image permalink22 km to go gap is 18". This group is working well together and the gap increases. Team Sky is leading the chase. Team Katusha makes the stopper. 17.5 km to go the break-away has got a 43". Only two hills are left: Eikenmolen and Klemhoutstraat. The front group passes them together. 6.4km to go, 36” gap, decreasing. No way back: it's a small group sprint. And Kristoff wins it.
Still I believe that Devolder raced a smart race. Two days to go.


Stage 1 and GC
1 Alexander KRISTOFF NOR KAT 28 3:59:31
3 Stijn DEVOLDER BEL TFR 36 +0
4 Sean DE BIE BEL LTS 24 +0
5 Lars Ytting BAK DEN LTS 35 +0
6 Sven erik BYSTRØM NOR KAT 23 +6
7 Stefan KUENG SUI BMC 22 +32
8 Arnaud DEMARE FRA FDJ 24 +34
9 Sacha MODOLO ITA LAM 28 +34
10 Kristian SBARAGLI ITA MTN 25 +34

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