The Slovakian champion Peter Sagan once again demonstrated his incredible Spring form with a sprint victory in the opening stage of Driedaagse De Panne (Three Days of De Panne). Arnaud Demare of FDJ was second and Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff came third.
Peter Sagan attacked the peloton as the riders were heading into the race’s final climb, the Eikenmolen, joined by 9 more other riders including Sylvain Chavanel and Niki Terpstra from Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Vini Fantini’s Oscar Gatto and Jerome Cousin from Europcar. And with 2km to go, the escapees held a 12-second gap over the bunch.
Alexander Kristoff launched the downhill sprint with 500 meters to go. Sagan jumped on his wheel as Demare closed on the Slovak, but Sagan took the win by a tire width in photo finish.
Driedaagse De Panne 2013 Stage 1 Results
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 5:00:27
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
8. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
9. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ