Chainel continues French run in De Panne's first stage, Belgians have no answer
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chainel continues French run in De Panne's first stage, Belgians have no answer

by VeloNation Press at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Race Reports and Results
 

Bbox Bouygues Telecom's Steve Chainel continued the 2010 renaissance of French cycling by winning the first stage of the Three Days of De Panne from a breakaway of seven.  Chainel took the sprint in front of Italians Luca Paolini and Enrico Gasparotto in the 198 kilometer ride from Middelkerke to Oudenaarde.  Frédéric Amorison, who was the only Belgian to make the front group, was unable to break the unprecedented winless streak for his country on home soil this year, which now sits at six races.

Chainel's win follows teammate Pierrick Fedrigo's stage and overall victories at the Critérium International this past weekend, adding to what has already been a big early season for the French Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis teams since being kicked out of the ProTour this winter.

Just before the Kluisberg with 31 kilometers left to race a leading group of thirteen riders formed.  Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet) made a failed bid for the line, with teammate Amorison countering his move to setup the break from which the winner would come.  The Belgian was soon joined by Briton David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), Italians Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo), Paolini, Gasparotto, and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) along with race winner Chainel.

The seven worked well to keep the chasing group a bay that included Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly), Simon Spilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo), Marco Bandiera (Katusha), Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Romain Zingle (Cofidis), and two that had teammates in the front group, Andry Grivko (Astana) and Scheirlinckx.

Westra opened up the sprint for the line, but the Frenchman was too strong for the others, winning the sprint with a comfortable margin.  Chainel said afterwards that he was surprised that the break worked, and he had no illusions of holding onto the overall lead through Thursday's time trial.  Now the overall competition looks to be David Millar's race to lose.  Wednesday's second stage will take the riders 214 kilometers from Zottegem to Coxyde.

2010 Three Days of De Panne stage 1 results:
1. Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
2. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone
3. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
4. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
5. Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil
7. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Transitions
8. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly
9. Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
10. Marco Bandiera (Ita) Katusha

General Classification after stage 1:
1. Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 4h 34m 18s
2. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone @ 4s
3. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana @ 6s
4. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 7s
5. Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet @ 10s
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil s.t.
7. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Transitions @ 13s
8. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly @ 55s
9. Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator s.t.
10. Marco Bandiera (Ita) Katusha s.t.

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