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by Mark Zalewski
March 31, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Durbridge narrowly takes TT win ahead of sprinters as Gilbert wins overall at De Panne; Kittel wins third road stage at Three Days of De Panne; Jones wins final stage of Tour de Taiwan, Prades takes overall; Kittel: Absolutely no doubt that disc brakes will play a role in the future of cycling; Flanders race jury president to focus on footpath riding infractions; Greg Daniel crashes at De Panne, revealing existing broken collarbone; Cookson insisted on contributing to report on British Cycling; UCI allows Tour of Turkey to postpone to the fall; Sagan criticised for push on Kemmelberg; Elinor Barker focusing on UCI Time Trial Championship in 2017; Rumours of Tour of Britain stages circulating; Acquisition of Pinarello by LVMH-backed private equity firm complete; Video: Cycling Chile and Bolivia – A wild adventure.
Luke Durbridge (ORICA-Scott) was the favourite for the afternoon time trial of the Three Days of De Panne, and indeed did take the win, but in a very close race by only three-quarters of a second ahead of Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie). Also impressing on the day were the sprinters with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) taking third, at two seconds, and the earlier road stage winner Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) in fourth, at three seconds. Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) played things a little more cautious, but still managed seventh on the day and took the overall victory.
“I saw Chavenel’s time and said, ‘Time to go back to the hotel!’” said Durbridge regarding the initial TV graphic showing the Frenchman in first place for a moment. “I’m glad it was a mistake. It was close but a win is a win. Really really happy, haven’t had a victory in a while.
“It’s one of the hardest [time trials] I’ve done in a while — a tailwind on the way out but I died a thousand deaths on the way home. I’m looking forward to Sunday [Tour of Flanders], I think it’s the best condition I’ve been in for it. My parents have come all the way from Australia, it’s the first time they’ve seen me race in Europe.”
“I felt good and was confident in my team,” said Gilbert. “I thank them for the work they did for me in this race. It took me a while to get my first victory since joining the team but I give them this win.”
Gilbert is also looking ahead to Sunday’s race with his current form, as well as the rest of the Classics. “The condition is good, so for me I am happy with that. I plan to race [all the Classics] through Liege. It’s not a secret, I joined this team for that reason — they have experience in these races. We’ll see, but first we have to do Flanders.”