Q& A With Laurenzo Lapage on Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Day 3Fri 29 Mar 2013
ORICA-GreenEDGE walks away from Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde empty handed in the tangible sense but with a bolstered sense of confidence ahead of Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday. The final day of the Three Days of De Panne presented the peloton with a double challenge. A short road stage in the morning proceded the afternoon time trial.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the morning stage field sprint. ORICA-GreenEDGE was a constant presence on the front of the field with both Stuart O’Grady and Michael Hepburn putting in small attacks inside the final ten kilometres. Tomas Vaitkus was the team’s first rider across the line, in 13th place on the same time as Kristoff. With the help of his teammates, Durbridge finished safely in the main bunch.
Defending champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won the individual time trial to takes his second consecutive Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde victory. ORICA-GreenEDGE placed two riders in the top-ten with Mouris in eighth place at 35” while Durbridge slotted into ninth place, tied on time with his teammate. Durbridge’s ride was good enough to bump him up to seventh overall to equal his general classification result from last year.
Following the action-packed double day of racing, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage answered questions about the final two stages.
STAGE 3b: De Panne – De Panne
Q: The day looked fairly straightforward once the early break went up the road. What were your directions to the team?
Their job this morning was to stay near each other and near the front. I didn’t want them to get surprised or caught out if I split happened. Short, windy stages are always dangerous in that way.
Q: Once again the team looked super strong. You’ve expressed your satisfaction with the way you see the team racing. What have they said?
They all realise that riding aggressively makes things a lot easier here. When they see it works, they’re happy to do it.
Q: How did Luke handle the morning stage?
He did the best he could. Conserve is not the right word because it’s impossible to conserve on a stage like this, but he did use his teammates to help keep him safe. He was one of the favourites going into the time trial, and he seemed ready.
STAGE 3b: De Panne – Koksijde – De Panne
Q: Going in as a favourite for the win, Luke’s result may have been slightly personally disappointing to him. What did he say after his race?
Obviously this is not what he wanted, but it’s still a good result to finish seventh overall against a strong, experienced field. He’s very happy with the work his teammates did for him.
Q: Jens Mouris set an early fast time and eventually slotted into eighth overall. What did he say about his ride?
Of course, he is happy. It shows that his form is good and will give him a confidence boost to know he will do his job well during Flanders.
Q: Looking at the race as a whole, are you satisfied with what the team accomplished?
The team raced great. I wish they had a better result for the work they did. It’s this sort of racing that allows the younger guys like Michael Hepburn, Leigh Howard and Luke Durbridge to learn the most.
Q: Sunday is the big day – and half of our De Panne team will line up to start Flanders. Have they shown you that they’re ready?
The focus is there. The team leader is ready. Everyone is motivated. That’s what I see and feel around this group.