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Bodnar takes a surprise win in the final time trial while Van Keirsbulck finishes 5th. Bad luck for Terpstra ends his winning ambitions and so the young Belgian becomes a surprise overall winner ahead of Durbridge and Steegmans

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

DAVID BOUCHER

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DRIEDAAGSE DE PANNE

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GERT STEEGMANS

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GUILLAUME VAN KEIRSBULCK

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LUKE DURBRIDGE

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MACIEJ BODNAR

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QUICK-STEP FLOORS

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03.04.2014 @ 17:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was time trial full of surprise that brought the Driedaagse van De Panne to an end. Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale) beat Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) and David Boucher (FDJ) to take an unexpected stage win while Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) benefited from a strong 5th place and bad luck for his teammate Niki Terpstra to take the overall win ahead of Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) and previous race leader Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

 

Prior to the final time trial of the Driedaagse van De Panne, all odds were on Niki Terpstra to take the overall win as the Dutchman has shown excellent condition in recent races and had positioned himself with a solid advantage over his key rivals ahead of today's final time trial. Even though the winner of the race was an Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider, however, it wasn't the expected outcome.

 

While Terpstra was left ruing the bad luck that had seem him unclip his foot at the start of his time trial and losing more than 10 seconds before getting back up to speed, his young teammate Guillaume Van Kerisbulck celebrated the biggest win of his career. Despite working hard for his team all week, the rider known as the new Tom Boonen still had enough left to finish 5th in the time trial.

 

Having started the stage in 6th overall, he limited his losses to Luke Durbridge sufficiently to hold off the strong Australian by 7 seconds in the overall standings. As he was also 17 seconds faster than his teammate and overall leader Gert Steegmans he suddenly found himself as the overall winner of the race, with Steegmans and Terpstra dropping to third and fourth respectively.

 

The stage win was taken by another surprise package. Maciej Bodnar is a multiple Polish champion in the individual discipline but he has never won a major UCI race. Today he produced the ride of his life to hold off Czech specialist Jan Barta by 3 seconds while David Boucher (FDJ) was an even more surprising third ahead of Durbridge.

 

The result made it a great week for Cannondale as it came on the back of Peter Sagan's win on the opening stage and proves that Bodnar is ready to support his Slovakian captain in the classics. He was left ruing his lack of attentiveness in yesterday's stage where he lost more than 3 minutes as he would have been very close to the overall win, had he made the split on the Kemmelberg.

 

With the Driedaagse van De Panne done and dusted, many of the riders in the Belgian race will turn their attention to the biggest Flemish race of the season, Sunday's Tour of Flanders. With today's overall win, Van Keirsbulck will cross his fingers that he has done enough to secure a spot on the star-studded Omega Pharma-Quick Step roster.

 

A flat, decisive time trial

As usual, the Driedaagse van De Panne came to an end with a short flat time trial starting and finishing in the coastal town of De Panne. The 14.3km course was slightly changed compared to recent years but was still completely flat and rather technical, with several U-turns along the way.

 

The first rider down the ramp was Morgan Lamoisson (Europcar) who crossed the line in a time of 20.12 to take the early lead. The next two riders, Murilo Fischer (FDJ) and Alexander Rybakov (Katusha), both beat him but the first serious mark was set by 2011 winner Sebastien Rosseler (Vastgoestservice).

 

Rosseler with the best time

The Belgian posted a time of 18.45 that allowed him to enjoy some time in the hot seat. Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) and Omar Fraile (Caja Rural) both got close but the first serious threat was Australian champion Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE).

 

The Australian shaved 26 seconds off the mark to firmly position himself in the leading position and for a long time, no one was even close to his time. Tim De Troyer (Wanty) moved into second but otherwise no one challenged Hepburn before Edward Theuns (Topsport) hit the course.

 

Tuft takes the lead

The young Belgian set the fastest time at the intermediate check but failed to keep up the speed. At the finish, he was 9 seconds behind and had to settle for a provisional 2nd.

 

He was beaten into third by Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE) and just moments later Svein Tuft made it three Orica-GreenEDGE riders in the top 3 when Svein Tuft took the lead, beating Hepburn by less than a second. Jan Ghyselinck (Wanty) broke the domination when he moved into 3rd, just 4 seconds off the mark.

 

Koren beats the rest

Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant) was expected to be in the mix but the big Swede could only make it into 3rd when he crossed the line. Moments later, Johan Le Bon (FDJ) did what he had failed to do when he beat Tuft by a massive 11 seconds.

 

At this point, Kristijan Koren (Cannondale) had set the fastest time at the intermediate check and so the Slovenian was eagerly awaited at the line. He kept his speed sufficiently high to beat Le Bon by 2 seconds.

 

A fast-changing lead

Koren was only the leader for less than two minutes as Boucher was on the ride of his life. He was the first rider to go below 18-minutes when he beat Koren  by 8 seconds.

 

Boucher had an even shorter time as leader of the stage as Barta was next to finish. The Czech was 3 second faster and positioned himself firmly atop the leader board.

 

Bodnar powers across the line

At this point it was already known that Bodnar was on a good day as the Pole had posted the same time as Koren at the intermediate check. Unlike his Slovenian teammates, he maintained his advantage all the way to the line to go three seconds faster than Barta.

 

It was now time for the GC battle to commence, with Daniele Colli (YellowFluo) and Rob Ruijgh (Vastgoestservice) producing surprising rides to make it into the provisional top 10. However, the one to really excel was sprinter Marcel Kittel (Giant) as the German set a time that would end up giving him 6th on the day.

 

Disastrous start for Terpstra

Alexander Porsev (Katusha) also made it into the provisional top 10 while Yves Lampaert and Julien Vermote both had disappointing rides. At this point all riders had started and it was already known that Terpstra had had a disastrous start and that it would be a close race.

 

At the intermediate check, Durbridge held the fastest time but he couldn't keep up the speed all the way to the finish, crossing the line in 4th. A minute later, Van Keirsbulck made it into 5th and limited his losses sufficiently to become the provisional overall leader.

 

Terpstra and Steegmans fade

All eyes now were on Steegmans and Terpstra. At the intermediate check, the latter had only lost 10 seconds and so was still in the mix for the win. However, he faded in the second half and ended the stage in 19th and dropped to 4th on GC.

 

At the intermediate check, Steegmans had only lost 1 second to Van Keirsbulck but he too was unable to keep up with his teammate. As he crossed the line, he had lost 17 seconds and as he had only started the day with a 9-second advantage, he lost his lead and dropped to 3rd.

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