Mitchelton-SCOTT return to Belgium ready for the mid-week Driedaagse de PanneMon 19 Mar 2018
Mitchelton-SCOTT are ready for the second phase of the Belgian classics starting this week with Driedaagse de Panne on Wednesday.
With a small but strong team line-up, last year’s stage winner Luke Durbridge will lead the squad as they eye a mid-week result to kick off their busy classics campaign.
Despite the name, this year’s edition of Driedaagse de Panne has been reduced to a one-day event and provides the teams with a perfect mid-week race ahead of the Friday’s E3 Harelbeke and Sunday’s iconic classic Gent Wevelgem.
The race is 202.4kilometres in length from Brugge to De Panne and features five climbs including the Monteberg and cobbled Kemmelberg, before heading towards the finish in De Panne for two finishing laps of 25kilometres. With an open route towards the coast, there is the potential for strong winds and an action packed, tough day out.
Luke Durbridge - 2017 stage winner
“De Panne is a completely different race this year, it is a bit of a shame that it is no longer a three-day race as I have always been quite successful in the race and always look forward to it.”
“I think this year's race will be very difficult if it is windy, we race out in the open and if it is really blowing after the Kemmelberg I expect the race to split and the race will be on with 70-80kilometres to go. If there’s no wind I expect it could be a big sprint because there’s only probably one or two climbs after the Kemmelberg that could split the race up."
“If sprint teams try to control it then we have Luka Mezgec for a sprint which could be really good for us. We have options and it is a good race to get in the legs if you haven’t raced Milan San-Remo. I haven’t raced since Tirreno-Adriatico so it is a good race to get into it again, feel the roads and feel the stress of the classics.”
“We have guys in good form so I am looking forward to coming into the best part of the season, the Belgian classics, so hopefully we can start things off well this week.”
Matt Wilson - Sport Director
“It’s a one-day race this year and it is a new course, nobody has ever done it before but it follows a very similar route to stage two of De Panne in the past.”
“We can expect anything on the day, we have Durbridge who is going very well and will be leading the team and also Mezgec, but he has been a bit sick recently alongside a whole bunch of sick riders.”
“We will be starting with five, it is a very competitive team despite be a small team and we will be looking for a good result.”
Previously in Driedaagse de Panne
Last year Durbridge performed constantly throughout the three-day race, finishing second on the opening road stage and taking a victory in the individual time trial on the final day.
Durbridge has a good track record in the event, having finished inside the top ten overall on five different occasions from 2012 to 2016, with his highest overall placing - second back in 2014.
Wednesdays, 21 March: Brugge - De Panne, 202.4km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images