Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has struck again – this time in the opening stage of Three Days of De Panne in Belgium, where a photo finish had to decide the win between him and Arnaud Demare (FDJ). Sagan won by the tread of his front tyre.

Sagan and Demare had been part of a 10-rider late escape group, animated by the Cannondale rider fresh from his win in Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

The result wasn’t as clear cut as Sunday’s race, though, with Sagan moving across the road into the path of Demare in the final sprint. Demare was forced to put his hand on Sagan’s back during the sprint to move him aside, and still accelerated through to nearly match the Slovak on the line.

There was no fancy victory celebration today. Sagan immediately went over to Demare after the finish to seemingly apologise, and neither rider looked certain who had won. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) placed third.

Having controlled the peloton for much of the day, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team came away with fourth place for in-form Sylvain Chavanel and sixth for Niki Terpstra. Mark Cavendish found himself distanced after Sagan initiated the attack and came home in the bunch at 11 seconds, led in by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). Chavanel won last year’s edition of the race.

Wednesday’s second stage takes the riders from Middelkerke to Zottegem over 204.2km. The race concludes on Thursday with the final two stages, a 109.7km road stage followed by a 14.75km individual time trial.

Results

Three Days of De Panne 2013, stage one: Middelkerke to Zottegem, 199.8km


1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5-00-27

2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ

3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha

4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

5. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini

6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony

8. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Europcar

9. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida

10. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ at same time

Other

16. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 9 secs

19. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 9 secs

99. Russell Downing (GBr) NetApp-Endura at 8-26

Overall classification after stage one

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale

2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ at 4 secs

3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 6 secs

4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 10 secs

5. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini

6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony

8. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Europcar

9. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida

10. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ at same time





Three Days of De Panne started with a tough opening day





Tom Boonen leads the bunch





Mark Cavendish and Luke Durbridge





Sylvain Chavanel and Peter Sagan



Arnaud Demare and Peter Sagan in a photo finish

Related links



Spring Classics 2013: Coverage index

  • JD

    Lucky to pip Demare there but again he managed to jump away from the only guy who would have been able to beat him in the last 200m, Cavendish. Yet again, the Manxman was close on his heels but not close enough.

    As long as there are hills near the end of a race you can’t see this changing.