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"Arnaud won the bunch sprint 34 seconds behind the leaders and has a good feeling. And I can say that it went better today. I found my warriors, we rode as a team."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

ARNAUD DEMARE

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01.04.2015 @ 12:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Three Days of De Panne is usually a final preparation event for the two monuments, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. For the riders of the FDJ team this year's edition is a catch-up race. In Zottegem after the first stage in which Arnaud Démare took eighth place, sports director Frédéric Guesdon and manager Marc Madiot felt that their speech was heard.

 

"The alarm bell was ringing," Marc Madiot said. "We do not appreciate that Yoann Offredo is isolated in the E3 Harelbeke and in Gent-Wevelgem Arnaud Démare was the only rider from the team in the 100-rider field after Casselberg. We have three great leaders [Demare, Offredo and Matthieu Ladagnous] but their teammates are not at their level. Three Days of De Panne mark a new beginning."

 

The wind was still blowing hard but heading east, the riders mainly had a tailwind. Record pace in the first hour, 56 km/h, before a breakaway of four riders including Belgian champion Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) was formed.

 

The final circuit with five climbs and a pave sector was fatal to the leaders except Debusschere who pressed on in the attack with his teammate Lars Bak.

 

The race was split on the last lap when Arnaud Démare joined a counterattack on the Leberg with riders likes Lampaert (Etixx-Quick Step), De Bie (Lotto-Soudal) and Bystrom (Katusha) . The adventure quickly ended when De Bie and Bystrom took off, joined by Devolder (Trek Factory) and Kristoff (Katusha). The four riders returned to Bak and Debusschere and the peloton never saw them again.

 

"The race was tough," said Frédéric Guesdon. "I think everyone had a little sore legs. In the 40-rider peloton, they looked too much at each other. Matthieu Ladagnous  who had been unlucky in the last races, tried to start the chase but it was not possible. Arnaud won the bunch sprint 34 seconds behind the leaders and has a good feeling. And I can say that it went better today. I found my warriors, we rode as a team."

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