By Bjorn Haake in Oostduinkerke
Steve Chainel is making waves in his first year on a ProTour Team. The French Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider participated in a breakaway on day one of Belgium's Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.
"This is only the beginning of the season for me as Tuesday's stage was only my sixth race of the season," he told Cyclingnews. "However I did do a full season of cyclo-cross. It's a discipline I admire."
The cyclo-cross experience helps the rider - named after Steve McQueen - on the narrow roads where rubbing shoulders is common. Chainel is under the guidance of directeur sportif Dominique Arnould, winner of the 1993 Cyclo-Cross World Championships.
"With this road season as a base I hope to get onto the podium of the 'Cross Worlds. I am already thinking about cyclo-cross, I can't forget it."
It is Chainel's third season as a professional. In 2007 and 2008 he raced for French team Auber 93. He will finish De Panne today and then represent the Bouygues in Ronde van Vlaanderen, April 5, and Paris-Roubaix, April 12.
"I tried to go on the Berendries and on the Valkenburg. I attacked so Vincent [teammate Vincent Jérôme] could take it easy in the group."
"For the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix my form should be even better."