Sylvain Chavanel set the fastest time in the Three Days of De Panne time trial this afternoon on the Belgian coast to win the overall. The Frenchman of team Omega Pharma-QuickStep edged out Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) by four seconds and Svein Tuft (GreenEdge) by 17 seconds.
Westra placed second in the overall as well and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Cannondale) placed third. The win gives Chavanel a confidence boost ahead of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
"The victory is important for him and for the team ahead of Sunday," Team Manager Wilfried Peeters told Cycling Weekly. "He'll have his chance along with Tom Boonen."
"We have a very strong team for Flanders and we start with a lot of pressure on our shoulders," Chavanel said. He'll lead the team with two-time winner, Boonen. However, his mind is on enjoying today's win for now. "The first thing I am going to do is enjoy this victory and drink a glass of wine this evening."
Chavanel finished second in Flanders last year behind Nick Nuyens, who is out this year with a fractured hip. He had started De Panne with his eyes on the overall victory and launching himself toward "De Ronde."
"It was my goal to win this race," Chavanel said, changed already into his jersey of national road champion. "When I left my family, I said, 'I'm going to win.'"
He started the afternoon 14.7-kilometre stage 12 seconds behind leader Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Though, he said that he'd been keeping an eye on the overall since the start of the race in Middelkerke.
"The first day was very important; you can't lose time."
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the first leg in Oudenaarde and Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) sprinted to win yesterday's leg in Oostduinkerke. Kristoff won the morning stage and took needed bonus seconds today, but he still couldn't manage the top time trialists.
Chavanel covered the course in 17 minutes, 49 seconds, Westra 18-53, Tuft 18:06 and early pace maker, Travis Meyer (GreenEdge) in 18-32. Kristoff recorded a time of 19-04.
"I was fourth in the Tour of San Luis and sixth in Paris-Nice," Chavanel said. "This is finally a result for all the work I've done."
Three Days of De Panne 2012
Final overall classification
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 12-05-44
2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4 secs
3. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale at 14 secs
4. Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge at 17 secs
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 18 secs
6. Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan at 22 secs
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) GreenEdge at 32 secs
8. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 39 secs
9. Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 51 secs
10. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar at 55 secs
Sylvain Chavanel wins the final time trial
Sylvain Chavanel celebrates the overall win
Tour of Flanders 2012: The Big Preview
Sylvain Chavanel: Rider Profile
Kittel: Today De Panne, tomorrow Champs Elyees
Sagan takes first Belgian win in De Panne
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