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"Unfortunately I had the first group go. I lacked just a little bit of power because of some tooth problems this weekend." 

Photo: ©Kramon




04.04.2015 @ 19:56 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Three Days De Panne is a 2.HC race, the second highest level in cycling, and took place from 31 March to 2 April. Wanty-Groupe Gobert lined up Frederik Backaert, James Vanlandschoot, Fréderique Robert, Tim De Troyer, Jan Ghyselinck, Lander Seynaeve, Kévin Van Melsen and Roy Jans.


Unfortunately Jans still suffered from a rib injury he sustained in Gent-Wevelgem and left the race during the first stage to Zottegem. 


In the first stage Frederik Backaert showed he is on good form. "Unfortunately I had the first group go. I lacked just a little bit of power because of some tooth problems this weekend." 


Backaert finished 17th in the first 40-rider strong group that finishd at 34 seconds from winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). The Flemish rider laid the foundations for a good overall classification in De Panne. 


The Kemmelberg featured prominently in the second stage. Tim De Troyer was part of the breakaway of the day. The lion's share of points for the mountain jersey had already been up for grabs in the first stage. Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise's Jarl Salomein took most of these and therefore De Troyer couldn't repeat his 2014 performance by winning the jersey.


On the final day of De Panne a rider of Wanty-Groupe Gobert did climb onto the podium. Kévin Van Melsen was part of the early breakaway. In the final, local loop Van Melsen courageously attacked but he saw the peloton approach fast. At only 1500 metres from the line Van Melsen was caught but his effort did earn him the prize for most aggressive rider of the day. 


“The stage was just a few metres too long," he reflected after the finish. "But this does give me a morale boost. My goal was to be in the breakaway today. I gave it my all and tried to do something good for the team and myself in the final. The prize for most aggressive rider is a nice bonus." 


Frederik Backaert received a lot of support by James Vanlandschoot in the second and third stages. Vanlandschoot, feeling better after a wrist injury, kept Backaert at the front to protect his good position in the overall. Backaert started the final time trial as number 15 in the overall. He came in 25th in the time trial and finished 18th in the overall classification of De Panne.


“Things went much better after the first day. We are on the up now. A time trial in itself is a good indication of form and the CUBE bikes we have are really good. I need to train a little bit more on the time trial so I ride a few seconds faster and end up a little bit highter in the overall." 

Backaert has evolved into one of the certitudes in the Wanty-Groupe Gobert Classics team in a short time. 


“I am happy to have done all these big races like Dwars Door Vlaanderen and E3. Now I have that experience and know the important moments in these races when I'll return next year."  


But first the Flemish rider lines up for the Tour of Flanders with the ultimate dream to ride on the Berendries, near his home in Brakel, as one of the first riders. 


“That breakaway won't leave without me on Sunday," he smiled. 



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