Durbridge time trials to seventh overall in De Panne

Thu 2 Apr 2015

2013 Australian champion Luke Durbridge has time-trialed his way into seventh position overall, finishing seventh in the closing race against the clock at the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde this afternoon.

The final day of racing also consisted of a morning road stage that resulted in a bunch sprint. Danish neo-pro Magnus Cort was ORICA-GreenEDGE’s top finisher in 13th position behind Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who completed a hat trick of stage wins.

Durbridge started the 14.2km time trial in 20th position overall, his ride to finish 31seconds behind stage winner and world champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) moving him up 13 positions.

It is the third seventh place at the race for the 23-year-old following 2012 and 2013. His best effort was second place last year.

“We wanted to do well in the time trial, especially with Durbo following the mechanical on stage one,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said.

“If the first day had panned out differently, someone with Luke’s qualities in the time trial could podium in the race.

“But we can do nothing about it. He has now finished three times seventh place and once second so we know he can be there.”

Kristoff finished third on the final time trial to retain his overall lead, crowned the 2015 Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde champion by 23secods to Stijn Devolder.

Earlier in the day, the peloton set off for the 111.4km final road stage starting and finishing in De Panne. 

On paper a bunch sprint look inevitable, and proceedings would prove it to be correct.

A break of twelve hovered around the one-minute advantage mark for most of the day.  The peloton kept them on a string out in front until they eventually pulled the race back together for the expected bunch kick in the final kilometres.

Cort was positioned on the Team Sky sprint train by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates and the 22-year-old did his best to contest whilst ahead of him, Kristoff and Andre Griepel (Lotto-Soudal) looked to have sprinted to a dead heat. Eventually the win was awarded to Kristoff by a margin unseeable to the naked eye.