Posthuma to defend De Panne

Joost Posthuma will aim to defend his title in the Driedaagse De Panne stage race. The Dutchman will...

Joost Posthuma will aim to defend his title in the Driedaagse De Panne stage race. The Dutchman will lead the Rabobank team in the three-day race that starts today in Middelkerke, Belgium.

"I finished second two years ago and I won last year," he said this morning. "I will be trying to win again."

Posthuma, winner of the Vuelta a Andalucía in February, took his 2008 victory thanks to the final stage. He won the time trial and took the general classification from Enrico Gasparotto. He finished second in 2007 to Alessandro Ballan.

"It will all depend on today. If a break stays away then that will decide the race."

The race starts with a 199-kilometre stage from Middelkerke to Zottegem. The second stage is a road stage from Zottegem to Oostduinkerke. The riders will face two stages on Thursday: a morning road stage and the afternoon 14.75-kilometre time trial. (BH)

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