Lampre's Daniele Bennati took his fifth victory of the season today in the 227km Stage 2 of the Three Days of De Panne from Zottegem to Koksijde. A strong final sprint into the wind from Bennati placed him ahead of Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Tomas Vaitkus (Discovery Channel).
"Yesterday it was obvious that Ballan was going really strong. I felt great as well, but I was back in the second group," Bennati said on TV after the stage. "I feel that my form is getting better after a bad period. After Paris-Nice I had a bit of the flu. Now I hope to be fine for the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem."
"Today was not easy; never is a sprint easy!" he continued. "Today, there was a headwind and our team had already really pulled hard to pull back the early escape to keep [teammate Alessandro] Ballan up in the classification, so there was not much left for the sprint, but I did well."
"I hope to go well for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but I am not at 100%...I would say at 90%. I hope to be up front." When asked to pick favourites, he suggested Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic), Ballan and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas).