Millar clinches De Panne victory

Eurosport - Thu, 01 Apr 18:13:00 2010

Britain's David Millar won the Three Days of De Panne in Belgium after capturing victory in the concluding time trial.

David Millar - 0

The Scot riding for Garmin-Transitions posted a time of 18 minutes and 44 seconds on the 14.75km course around De Panne to win the stage by five seconds from Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) with Canada's Svein Tuft third.

Millar was 35 seconds quicker than Andriy Grivko of Astana on GC with Acqua & Sapone's overnight leader Luca Paolini, dropping to third place, 1:07 back.

Millar, who also won Sunday's Criterium International time trial win, told Cycling Weekly that the victory was a little bit of a surprise.

"I was nervous beforehand and I wasn't convinced I was going to win the GC," Millar said.

"I just tackled it and focused on what I had to do and hoped that it would be enough. I told my team-mate last night, I really hope I could win this because De Panne is one of those races that is feared and respected in the professional peloton.

"So to come here and win the GC, in a particularly dirty and hard De Panne, I am pretty proud."

Millar's team-mate Tyler Farrar had won the morning's 112km road stage around De Panne in a sprint finish from Robert Wagner and Kenny Van Hummel.

STAGE TWO

Bouygues Telecom rider Sebastien Turgot won the second stage of the Dreidaagse van de Panne-Koksijde amid driving rain in Flanders, Belgium.

He stands fifth in the General Classification, a minute 30 seconds behind leader Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone), with two stages remaining.

The Italian was sixth, at the head of the second group to finish the stage which also featured British race hopeful David Millar.

Paolini shares the overall lead with Andrey Grivko, with Frederic Amorison nine seconds back and the Scot just 12 in arrears.

"I am still shivering. It was an incredible stage in that cold weather," Paolini said. "I will see what I can do tomorrow to put some time between me and Millar."

The stage was shortened from 214km to 188km due to the bad weather.

Millar said: "I expected the worst when I signed up to do De Panne, but today even exceeded my expectations.

"Gale force winds and rain made it nothing less than an epic day out in Belgium."

On Thursday the riders will compete on a 112km stage in the morning and 14.75km time trial in the afternoon.

STAGE ONE

France's Steve Chainel won the opening stage of the Dreidaagse van de Panne-Koksijde in Belgium.

The Bouygues Telecom rider took a surprise win after coming out on top of a seven-man sprint at the end of the 198km stage from Middelkerke to Oudenaarde, with Italian duo Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) and Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) taking second and third places.

Paolini and Gasparotto came to the front of the leading group as the breakaway neared the finish, but Chainel timed his run perfectly to overtake the duo and grab the win. Britain's David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) finished just three seconds behind the leading group, and is aiming to stay near the front of the field to try to secure the overall victory in Thursday's final-stage time trial.

It was the first major victory of Chainel's career, and even the man himself admitted that he had never expected it.

"It's a real surprise to win," he said.

"There were some fast sprinters up there like Paolini and Gasparotto but I've got a good jump and today it worked."

Chainel will wear the leader's yellow jersey on Wednesday's second stage, but he admits he has little chance of overall victory.

"This was a trial run for the Tour of Flanders," he said. "I do not stand a chance against Millar in the time trial."

Tour of Flanders: Sunday 12pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player. And follow live text commentary of all the big April classics on uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

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