Sixth overall for Durbridge at De PanneThu 31 Mar 2016
Australian Luke Durbridge held onto sixth place in the final general classification of Driedaasge De Panne-Koksijde, producing a top ten performance in the individual time trial to seal the result.
Three days of consistent team performances by ORICA-GreenEDGE kept Durbridge in safe positions throughout the most important moments of the race. After spending over 140kilometres in the breakaway with teammate Jens Keukeleire on stage one, Durbridge had the legs and the intelligence to hold on for his second consecutive top ten finish in the race.
The race was won by Lieuwe Westra (Astana) with last year’s winner Alexander Kristoff (Team-Katusha) beaten into second place by only 13seconds. Westra produced a strong time trial that also saw him leapfrog his teammate Alexey Lutrsenko (Astana) to take the overall victory.
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was happy with how the team performed throughout the three-day race.
“Luke (Durbridge) and the team have been fantastic throughout the race,” said Lapage. “I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Top ten on the general classification for the second year running is a positive result.”
“We knew on the first stage that we needed to be in the right places when the attacks came because those time differences were going to be the important factors going into the last stage.
“Luka (Mezgec) was getting closer in the sprint everyday and he did really well to place fifth against some very fast guys this morning.”
Lapage continued by praising the spirit and attitude within the squad.
“Everybody has been relaxed and motivated, happy to work for each other," he said. "This is always very important but at this stage of the season it gives us confidence for the big races that are coming up.”
How it happened:
The third and final stage of De Panne was split into two parts with a short and fast criterium race in the morning followed by an individual time trial in the afternoon.
The morning's 111kilometre route favoured the sprinter's teams and sure enough, under springtime sunshine, it was Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) who won the bunch sprint. Mezgec came home in fifth place after avoiding the large pile up on the last corner before the finishing straight.
It had been a relatively straight forward morning, a breakaway of six riders escaped within the first 20kilometres and developed a maximum lead of one minute thirty seconds. The group managed to stay away for most of the race eventually being caught by the advancing peloton with only six kilometres to go. Etixx-Quickstep and Team-Katusha were all over the front of the bunch and race leader Kristoff (Team-Katusha) crossed the line in third place behind Kittel.
The afternoon time trial around De Panne on the Belgian coast followed a predominantly flat 14kilometre route. Just past the halfway point Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) set the fastest provisional time of 17minutes 39seconds with Canadian Svein Tuft posting the sixth fastest time of 18minutes 49seconds.
Bodnars time remained the one to beat as Johan Le Bon (FDJ) and Sylvain Chavanel (Direct-Energie) both came close. Tuft gradually slipped further down the classification as Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) and Tom Bohli (BMC) both equaled Bodnars time.
Durbridge gave it everything but could not break 18minutes and Westra, who started the day in third place on the general classification, pipped Kristoff to the top spot by only 13seconds.
The next race for ORICA-GreenEDGE is in Spain at the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain on Saturday 2nd of March.
Driedaasge De Panne-Koksijde stage 3 results:
1. Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) 2:27:03
2. Phil Bauhaus (Bora-Argon18) ST
3. Alexander Kristoff (Team-Katusha) ST
5. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST
1. Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) 0:17:39
2. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
3. Tom Bohli (BMC) ST
10. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:00:31
Final general classification results:
1. Lieuwe Westra (Astana) 12:08:19
2. Alexander Kristoff (Team-Katusha) 0:00:13
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) 0:00:16
6. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:01:04