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Mezgec just outside the top ten in an action packed day in Driedaagse de Panne

Wed 21 Mar 2018

Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec was the highest place finisher today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the mid-week Belgium classic, Driedaagse de Panne, sprinting in to 14th place.

After crosswinds, echelons, climbs and cobbles, the action packed day eventually concluded with a reduced bunch sprint into De Panne, where Quickstep-Floors came out on top with a win with Elia Viviani. 

Six lead the way

In the opening stages of the 202kilometre day, six riders formed the main breakaway of the day and established a maximum advantage of eight minutes. Team’s began to lift the tempo in the bunch and gradually reeled the leaders back in but the six ahead continued to battle on and continued to hover around two minutes ahead until the final few kilometres.

Wind and echelons

As expected, once the race approached De Panne, with open fields and being so close to the beach, the wind was able to play a part in the final of the race. Team’s worked numerous times to form echelons and finally the main bunch split in two.

Mitchelton-SCOTT were well represented in the inital front split, but the c groups came back together again as the race situation continued to change.

On the final crosswind section, Mitchelton-SCOTT found themselves out of position with Mezgec alone near the front as the race headed closer to the bunch finish.

Hectic sprint

With a typical Belgian finale, the final kilometres were filled with road furniture and corners, as sprint teams trying to assert themselves at the front. With four kilometres to go it was Bora-Hansgrohe who led the way and gaps began to appear in the lined-out group.

In the end Viviani proved to be the fastest to claim the win with Mezgec unable to get into a good position as the sprint opened up.

Luka Mezgec

“The team was riding really good all day. On the last time through Moeren the wind sector, we were out of position a bit, so I was alone at the front. Then from there on, the sprint didn’t go so well, I couldn’t get into a good position in the last kilometre, so going into the last corner with just 600metres to go I already knew I was too far away to be able to sprint for a result.”

“I actually felt decent after a week of resting due to a small sickness so now I am looking forwards to the next races in this busy Belgian period.”

Driedaagse de Panne results:

1. Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floor)
2. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
3. Jasper Philipsen (Hagens Berman Axeon)
14. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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