Copyright Tim de Waele

Former Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge powered to victory today on the final stage of Driedaagse de Panne.

The 25-year-old blasted around the 14.2kilometre time trial course to produce an impressive time of 17minutes and 38seconds to finally round off his impressive run of form with a win for ORICA-SCOTT, his first victory of the 2017 season.

“I am really elated to get the win, I have been really consistent lately but a win is totally different,” Durbridge explained after the finish. “It has been a while since I have had a win so I am really happy with today.”

“Obviously I was dissapointed with yesterday, making mistakes and missing the split and that made me more fired up for today.

“I have done this time trial maybe five times now so I know it well and I went out as hard as I could.

“It was great to finish off with a win after all the teamwork from the guys, they helped me out a lot each day.”

The final day of racing was split into two stages with a morning road stage where Luka Mezgec sprinted to eighth place, followed by Durbridge’s well-paced time trial claiming the victory against some stiff competition.

“It was a good ride today and it is confirmation of his condition at the moment,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “He is ready for the big races coming up.”

“Yesterday was disappointing for us with a lack of concentration for one moment but when you have the legs you can answer and give your response and that is what he did today.

“Today was really great and we are all happy for him, it is his first win this year and maybe this is the small step he needed before the big ones coming up.”

How it happened:

The first stage of the day began bright and early with a 118kilometre road race. A breakaway of nine riders crept away in the early stages and animated most of the race.

Eventually the escapees slowly returned back to the peloton, leaving just four men out front until the final two kilometres.

The stage concluded with a predicted bunch sprint won by Marcel Kittel (Quickstep-Floors) as Roger Kluge navigated through the group to drop Mezgec off in position as he sprinted into eighth place.

A few hours later and it was time for a 14kilometre individual time trial, where the U23 Tour of Flanders winner Alex Edmondson produced a strong ride, passing the first time check after 5.3kilometres in third position and eventually crossing the line with a time of 17minutes and 47seconds for a provisional second place eventually finishing in sixth place, nine seconds down.

Durbridge one of the later riders to start, set the bench mark early on passing the 5.3kilometre time check with the fastest time of six minutes 24seconds.

Riders came close but in the end nobody as able to knock Durbridge off the hot seat as he claimed his first victory of the season for ORICA-SCOTT.

Driedaagse de Panne stage 3B results:

  1. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-SCOTT) 17:38
  2. Sylvain Chavanel (Direct-Energie) 17:38
  3. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) 17:40

 

Overall general classification results:

  1. Phillipe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors) 12:08:57
  2. Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) +0:38
  3. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) +0:43
  4. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:50