Luca Paolini
(Image credit: ISOSPORT)

Luca Paolini (Liquigas) took a straightforward stage win on the opening day?s racing of the Three Days of De Panne, when he easily outgunned fellow-Italian Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) in a two-up sprint at Zottegem.

On an overcast day in Belgium where cross-winds shattered the peloton on the 192 kilometre stage, the two Italians broke away from a group of seven riders six kilometres from the finish on the last short climb of the day.

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