DE PANNE, Belgium (AFP) — Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde in Belgium on Thursday, 23 seconds ahead of Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) after three days of racing.
Kristoff’s victory was anchored by three wins in the opening three stages of the race, which culminated with Briton Bradley Wiggins (Sky) claiming the fourth and final stage, a 14.2-kilometer time trial around De Panne, Belgium.
“I’ve always liked this time trial, especially when the weather picks up,” said Wiggins. “It felt horrible, but I think it was the same for everyone. We raced this morning really early, and it never feels like it’s flowing and fresh. Everyone’s trying really hard. I knew there was an opportunity to jump up onto the podium as well.”
Wiggins bested BMC’s Stefan Kueng by 10 seconds. Kristoff rode to third place in the time trial, 18 seconds behind world time trial champion, Wiggins.
“That was the best time trial of my life, which proves I’m in form,” said Kristoff.
With his final TT victory, the Sky rider moved up to third place overall at the end of the three-day race in Flanders.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, Kristoff said, “I’m getting to know the Flanders climbs better and better. I know I can win, even though I know it won’t be easy.”
Wiggins also has his eye on the weekend’s monument. “I want to be at the final in Flanders with [Geraint Thomas] because I think that’s where you can make the biggest difference,” he said. “It’s a big weekend. G’s [Thomas] win last week only increases the interest. It’s really good that now we’ve potentially got a British guy who can win Tour of Flanders. Not since Tommy Simpson have we had that.”