Belgian Sébastien Rosseler won his first stage race victory today in Belgium, winning the final time trial to clinch the Three Days of De Panne.

“I did not have a lot of confidence because I was tired after this morning’s stage,” said team Radioshack’s Rosseler.

“I was happy with my time, but I did not think it was good to win De Panne. In fact, I didn’t even watch the race on the TV in the bus.”

Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the favourite to win the Three Days of De Panne overall. He trailed Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano) by two seconds and had 10 seconds on Rosseler ahead of the 14.7-kilometre time trial. He finished in 18’45”, 14 seconds back from Rosseler’s time of 18’31.

Westra finished second in 2009 and last year, behind David Millar, in the time trial. He covered 14.8 kilometres in 18’21” in 2009 behind Bradley Wiggins and in 18’49” last year.

“I am pissed,” said Westra. “I didn’t make one mistake; I was strong and felt confident. The other guy was faster and so he deserves to win. I repeat, though, I am pissed.”

Wiggins was unable to start because he missed the time cut with 76 others in the 111-kilometre stage this morning. He punctured his tyre ahead of a key crosswind section and finished with a group 25’22” back.

Slightly damp roads slowed the 14.7-kilometre test, and winds off the North Sea made rides tricky. Dutch Champion Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) crashed and went to hospital for further examination.

Matt Brammeier (HTC-Highroad) set the early time to beat – 19’41. Andriy Grivko (Astana), second overall last year behind Millar, was the first to go under 19 minutes: 18’55”.

USA’s RadioShack rode impressively. Besides Rosseler, 20-year-old Pole, Michal Kwiatkowski posted 18’45” and Dmitriy Muravyev 19’01” – it was enough to win the team classification.

German André Greipel (OmegaPharma-Lotto) won the opening stage from an escape. Yesterday’s stage saw Bradley Wiggins (Sky) lose over five minutes to a group, which included Rosseler – Russian Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) won the stage in a sprint.

Italian Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Cannondale) sprinted to victory in this morning’s leg of stage three that saw a large chunk of the peloton – including Wiggins – eliminated for failing to make the time cut.

Last year’s winner David Millar’s team, Garmin-Cervelo, did not take part in this year’s race.

Results

Three Days of De Panne 2011, stage 3b: De Panne – Koksijde – De Panne, 14.7km

1. Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Radioshack


2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Radioshack

4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step

5. Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad

Final overall classification

1. Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Radioshack


2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Radioshack

4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step

5. Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad

Sebastien Rosseler wins Three Days of De Panne 2011



Rosseler on his way to winning the final time trial

Sebastien Rosseler wins Three Days of De Panne 2011



Rosseler wins overall

Related links



Three Days of De Panne 2011, stage 3a: Guarnieri wins as Wiggins misses time cut



Three Days of De Panne 2011, stage two: Galimzyanov grabs first win



Three Days of De Panne 2011 stage one: Greipel wins from break



Wiggins passes first test for De Panne overall victory