Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) both opted not to start the third and final day of the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday, as they turn their attentions to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
Sagan won the opening stage but like last year, he lost surrendered his overall lead in the closing kilometres of stage two and has decided to forgo Thursday’s split stage. “I wanted to get in some kilometres here before the Tour of Flanders but you mustn’t turn that into additional efforts,” Sagan said, according to La Dernière Heure. “Now I’m going to prepare calmly for Sunday.”
Boonen had originally not been slated to take part in the Three Days of De Panne but as he scrambles for form after an illness and injury-hit pre-season, he made a late decision to participate. The Belgian champion was a faller at Gent-Wevelgem at the weekend but he declared himself relatively pleased with his progress in two stages at De Panne.
“I feel my knee a bit still when I have to go flat out, but I can’t complain,” Boonen said.
Although Thursday morning’s stage traditionally finishes in a bunch sprint, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) also opted to sit it out with the Tour of Flanders in mind. The German was suffering from a sore throat and did not wish to compromise his participation in De Ronde, where he will ride in the service of Jurgen Roelandts.