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Filippo Pozzato continues on his strong pre-Flanders form, notching victory in the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne in Belgium.
Pozzato, who won the Prijs Harelbeke on Saturday, out-kicked fellow escapee Frédérick Willems (Liquigas) to win the stage and take the first leader’s jersey in the four-stage, three-day race.
Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) won the bunch sprint, some 57 seconds back to take third place.
De Panne, considered the final warm-up before Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, continues Wednesday with the 219km second stage from Zottegem to Coxyde.
“My goal remains the Tour of Flanders. These victories have given me morale. It means that I worked well from this winter to today. So, now I know that I’ll be able to win on Sunday, but I also know that the strongest is Boonen. I saw him very well,” Pozzato said. “The secret of my good period? It’s that I ride serenity with no obligation to show anything to anyone”.
1. Filippo Pozzato (ITA) Katusha 4:36:51
2. Frederik Willems (BEL) s.t.
3. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) at 57
4. Borut Bozic (SVQ) s.t.
5. Grega Bole (SLO) s.t
6. Martijn Maaskant (NED) s.t
7. Assan Bazayev (KAZ) s.t
8. Vincent Jerome (FRA) s.t
9. Marco Finetto (ITA) s.t
10. Steve Chainel (FRA) s.t