Guarnieri takes sprint win in De Panne

De Backer moves into overall lead ahead of afternoon time trial

Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Cannondale) lit up a grey morning in De Panne with a wonderful sprint victory ahead of Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) and Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun). In the battle for overall honours, Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano) moved into the Three Days of De Panne’s white jersey ahead of the concluding afternoon time trial.

Guarnieri won the sprint from a group of 50 riders that gathered at the front midway through the stage after the wind fractured the peloton and scattered it into various echelons in the opening half of the short stage. A late bid for solo glory from Federico Canuti (Colnago-CSF) was shut down on the finishing circuit, setting the scene for the keenly-contested sprint finish.

In spite of the headwind in the finishing straight, Guarnieri took the brave decision to go early and he had enough in the tank to hold off the in-form Galimzyanov and the experienced Casper, while Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) had to be satisfied with 4th.

“The wind was very strong and against us,” Guarnieri told Cyclingnews afterwards. “I was riding in fourth or fifth position and then I went from quite early, with around 350m to go. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold it until the finish but I had really good legs.”

Guarnieri’s Liquigas stablemate Peter Sagan was one of a number of riders who opted not to start the final day in De Panne, but Guarnieri explained that the young Slovak’s absence did not affect the team’s tactics.

“[Elia] Viviani and I are two good sprinters, so today Peter would have worked for us,” he explained, before expressing his delight at taking his first win of the season.

“At Tirreno-Adriatico and Gent-Wevelgem I suffered a lot, but today I felt really good and I knew I could do a good sprint, so I’m really happy,” Guarnieri said.

Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished safely in the lead group but surrendered his white jersey to Bert De Backer after the Skil-Shimano rider picked up two bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. De Backer now leads Westra by those two seconds ahead of the afternoon time trial, with Arnoud Van Groen (Verandas Willems-Accent) in 3rd place. A number of time triallists and strongmen, including Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), lie with intent 10 seconds behind the Belgian.

Echelons shuffle the pack

With slate grey skies and steady rain falling over De Panne, it was no surprise that a number of riders opted not to start the final day of the race with one eye already on Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. As well as Peter Sagan, Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) were also among those who felt that their Ronde preparations could do without a morning being buffeted by the wind and rain along the North Sea coast.

That wind contributed heavily to a frenetic first hour of racing that saw the remainder of the bunch cover over 48km as echelon after echelon formed on the way inland through the flatlands of west Flanders. By the time the riders reached the mid point of the short stage, it had fragmented into no fewer than seven separate groups, which riders scattered all over the road.

As the race headed back towards the coast with 57km to go, the strong men’s pressing began to tell, and a rather elite first echelon of around 20 riders formed, including race leader Lieuwe Westra, Sylvain Chavanel, Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Niki Terpstra (Quick Step), Bert De Backer, Denis Galimzyanov and Tomas Vaitkus (Astana).

For a while, they threatened to ride away with the race, but a big effort from a second echelon that included sprinters André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) saw the lead group swell to 45 or so riders 10km later, with Matt Brammeier (HTC-Highroad) particularly prominent in the service of Renshaw.

Brammeier’s sterling stint at the front ensured the group’s unity at least as far as the day’s sole intermediate sprint, where Bert De Backer took second behind Feillu, snatching two bonus seconds to wrest the white jersey from Westra ahead of the afternoon time trial.

In the final 20km, however, the attacking began again, with Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis) and Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) the first to make a bid for glory. Chris Sutton (Sky) and Denis Van Windern (Rabobank) managed to bridge across 3km later, but Vacansoleil-DCM were keeping close tabs on the quartet and they were pegged back.

Federico Canuti was the next to try his luck, but the Italian was caught in the closing stages, and it was left to the fast men to fight it out for victory in De Panne. While Greipel and Renshaw failed to make the anticipated impact, Jacopo Guarnieri was present and correct to record a fine sprint win.

Full Results
1Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale2:32:11 
2Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team  
3Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
4Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
5Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
6Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team  
7Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack  
8Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
9Jake Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
10Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
11Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
12Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling  
13Steven Caethoven (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
14Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp  
15Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
16James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
17Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet  
18Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
19André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
20Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team  
21Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad  
22Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano  
23Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
24Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
25Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack  
26Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
27Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team  
28Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
29Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
30Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
31Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana  
32Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team  
33Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
34Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
35Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack  
36Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
37Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
38David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
39Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
40Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
41Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling  
42Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ  
43Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
44Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:08 
45Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:09 
46Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
47Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling  
48Roger Kluge (Ger) Skil - Shimano0:00:11 
49Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:18 
50Boy Van Poppel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:00:20 
51Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:21 
52Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:23 
53Matthew Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad0:00:43 
54John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:01:05 
55Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano0:01:31 
56Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:03:18 
HDAlex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad  
HDStefan Van Dijk (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
HDMikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team  
HDSteven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDRussell Downing (GBr) Sky Procycling  
HDAliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha Team  
HDDirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
HDDmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
HDBram Schmitz (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
HDMarcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
HDBradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling  
HDMarco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
HDMartin Reimer (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
HDMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDMaxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
HDValentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
HDVitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
HDYauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ  
HDEdward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale  
HDEric Baumann (Ger) Team Netapp  
HDKevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
HDLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDDamien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar  
HDChris Barton (USA) BMC Racing Team  
HDCesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp  
HDRobert Retschke (Ger) Team Netapp  
HDScott Zwizanski (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
HDRony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDJarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDNikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team  
HDPim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
HDSimon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
HDDominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDIljo Keisse (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
HDDavid Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar  
HDJean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDAnthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDAdam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDMaarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
HDGrégory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
HDJan Ghyselinck (Bel) HTC-Highroad  
HDMichael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team  
HDLeigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
HDHilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
HDBalint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD  
HDKoen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
HDMartijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
HDMickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ  
HDDominique Rollin (Can) FDJ  
HDDanilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
HDDanny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad  
HDBobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
HDPeter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling  
HDFrancesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
HDElia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
HDDaniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
HDMathieu Claude (Fra) Team Europcar  
HDNelson Oliveira (Spa) Team RadioShack  
HDBen Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling  
HDAllan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
HDDavide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
HDManuele Caddeo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
HDGrégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack  
HDDanilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD  
HDJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDAndrew Pinfold (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
HDKarl Menzies (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
HDEgidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet  
HDRomain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
HDRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
HDWilliam Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
HDNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
HDPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
HDGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFSteven Cozza (USA) Team Netapp  
DNFBert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFVincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFSaïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFArnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFTimon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp  
DNFJesús Del Nero Montes (Spa) Team Netapp  
DNFTheo Bos (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFFrédérique Robert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFAssan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFRobert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack  
DNFGrega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD  
DNFCoen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFRonan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNSStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNSAlessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNSTiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNSPeter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNSLuca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team  
DNSFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team  
DNSMatti Helminen (Fin) Landbouwkrediet  
DNSStijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
Sprint 1
1Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team3pts
2Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano2 
3Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun1 
Points - Finish
1Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale10pts
2Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team9 
3Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun8 
4Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil - Shimano7 
5Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team6 
6Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team5 
7Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack4 
8Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana3 
9Jake Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling2 
10Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator1 
Teams
1Skil - Shimano7:36:33 
2Quickstep Cycling Team  
3Pro Team Astana  
4Veranda's Willems - Accent  
5Team RadioShack  
6Liquigas-Cannondale  
7Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:08 
8Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:09 
9Sky Procycling  
10Omega Pharma-Lotto  
11HTC-Highroad0:00:43 
General classification after stage 3a
1Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano12:02:52 
2Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:02 
3Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:00:04 
4Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack0:00:06 
5Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:07 
6Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet0:00:10 
7James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
8Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
9Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
10Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team  
11Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
12Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
13Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack  
14Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team  
15Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team  
16Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack  
17Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad  
18Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
19Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
20Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
21Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana  
22Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
23Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
24Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
25Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
26Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling  
27Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:19 
28Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:22 
29Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:28 
30Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:00:30 
31Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:31 
32Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:33 
33John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:01:09 
34André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:05:08 
35Roger Kluge (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
36Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:05:19 
37Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling  
38Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling0:05:28 
39Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team0:05:45 
40Steven Caethoven (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:06:36 
41Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ0:07:10 
42Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano0:07:28 
43Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp0:08:26 
44Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:10:16 
45Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team0:12:15 
46Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
47Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:12:39 
48Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team0:12:50 
49David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:16:14 
50Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:17:16 
51Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil - Shimano0:17:32 
52Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:18:12 
53Matthew Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad0:20:10 
54Jake Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:24:47 
55Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
56Boy Van Poppel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:25:07 
Points classification
1Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team29pts
2Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team24 
3John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad23 
4André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto20 
5Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team18 
6Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack16 
7Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun15 
8Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team14 
9Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana14 
10Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale10 
11Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet10 
12Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack10 
13Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad7 
14Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team6 
15Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto5 
16Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team5 
17Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team4 
18James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent3 
19Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team3 
20Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana3 
21Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3 
22Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil - Shimano2 
23Jake Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling2 
24Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator1 
Sprint classification
1Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano10pts
2Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent6 
3Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team5 
4Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team3 
5Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team2 
6André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto1 
7Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun1 
8Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto1 
Mountains classification
1Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team15pts
2Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack8 
3Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team RadioShack7 
4Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team4 
5Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano3 
6Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto3 
7André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto2 
Teams classification
1Skil - Shimano36:09:06 
2Pro Team Astana  
3Veranda's Willems - Accent  
4Team RadioShack  
5Liquigas-Cannondale  
6Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:08 
7Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:09 
8Omega Pharma-Lotto  
9Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:17 
10HTC-Highroad0:00:43 
11Sky Procycling0:05:18 

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