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Kristoff claims stage two of De Panne

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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed the second stage of the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde after a day full of echelons. The Norwegian outsprinted Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) in Koksijde.

Philippe Gilbert leads now Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) by 50 seconds with Kristoff third overall at 1min07s.

The win came from a reduced group of riders who broke away on a windy day for the 192.9k course that began in Zottegem. Second and third places were earned by Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Marcel Kittel of Quick-Step Floors, all on the same time of 4:37:29.

“I sort of led out myself for the sprint. I was afraid with the headwind I would be too slow so I sped up slightly all the way and when I saw the others guys coming I was able to sped up more. It was a hard sprint in the headwind but in these smaller sprints without the trains it is more man-against-man and they usually suit me quite well,” said Alexander Kristoff.

“It’s nice to win today. The parcours was a little bit easier so the sprinters were better. I was there with Marcel Kittel in the first group so I was not sure I could beat him as he is usually a bit faster than me. But after a hard race and without the big lead outs, we had our chance today and I was happy to see that I could hold them behind me and take the win today. You take what you can in cycling. If I cannot win on Sunday I will still always have this nice victory from today but I hope I have the shape on Sunday and I can fight for something”.

Three Days of De Panne 2017 – stage 2 results (Zottegem – Koksijde):

1 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin)

4:37:29

2 Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

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3 Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors)

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4 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)

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5 Andrea Guardini (UAE Team Emirates)

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6 Maxime Vantomme (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect)

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7 Adrien Petit (Direct Energie)

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8 Coen Vermeltfoort (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij)

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9 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

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10 Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport)

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General classification after stage 2:

1 Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors)

9:13:28

2 Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo)

+50”

3 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin)

+1’07”

4 Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

+1’11”

5 Pim Lightart (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij)

+1’15”

6 Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie)

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7 Maxime Vantomme (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect)

+1’17”

8 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

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9 Boy Van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo)

+1’22”

10 Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal)

+2’25”