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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

 UCI codes explained

33rd KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde - 2.HC

Belgium, March 31-April 2, 2009

2008 results     Stage List     Preview    Start List     Past winners

The Stages

  • Stage 1 - March 31: Middelkerke - Zottegem, 199km
  • Stage 2 - April 1: Zottegem - Oostduinkerke, 219km
  • Stage 3a - April 2: De Panne - De Panne, 112km
  • Stage 3b - April 2: De Panne - Koksijde - De Panne (ITT), 14.75km

Via De Panne to De Ronde

By Bjorn Haake

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) is the defendign champion
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde offering four stages in three days over cobbles and climbs in the Flanders region of Belgium is the perfect preparation race for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, provided a rider can get through it unscathed.

Considered one of the most dangerous races on the calendar, De Panne-Koksijde's narrow roads, traffic islands and roundabouts can cause havoc in the peloton. For the lucky ones who get through the race upright, the mental preparation alone is worth the risk as the high speeds and constant surprises hone a rider's reflexes to a razor-sharp level necessary for the Classics.

The top 120 riders who make it through the third stage get to compete in the final test, a 15-kilometre time trial, to decide the winner of the overall classification. Last year, that man was Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), who put in a brilliant performance on the final leg to take the stage and the overall victory.

At 500 kilometres in length, the Driedaagse provides a lengthy daily average to prepare riders for the 260-kilometre Ronde van Vlaanderen on the weekend, and hits the plenty of the climbs which riders will encounter in the Classics: the Leberg, Berendries and Eikenmolen to name a few.

What would Classics preparation be without cobbles? The first stage in Middelkerke takes in a few sectors of pavé over 199 kilometres to help toughen up the riders. Along the way, 13 hellingen (the short steep climbs) will help with the pain tolerance as well. Compared to the 16 in the Ronde, the first stage alone is nearly comparable in difficulty to the vaunted Classic.

The second stage on Wednesday is a little lighter, with only four climbs, including the Kemmelberg. The climb is a prominent constant in Gent-Wevelgem and crashes are always a possibility there. The stage is the longest of the three days, at 219 kilometres.

The final day is split, with a 112-km road stage in the morning. Then, if you are one of the lucky 120 riders, your day continues in the afternoon.

Last year Mark Cavendish won the third stage, but he told Cyclingnews back then that he was still motivated to race the time trial, even if couldn't contest the victory. "The fans here in Belgium are so unbelievable, it is so much fun to race here."

Sprinters' delight

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) loves racing in Belgium
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Cavendish won't be missing out on entertaining the Belgian fans this year, and will be going for more stage wins. He will have fierce competition from fellow sprinters Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Robert Förster (Milram), Robert Hunter (Barloworld) or Daniele Bennati (Liquigas).

Boonen, of course, is less likely to mix it up in the sprints in a race that already suffers from a lot of nervousness and crashes on the small Belgian roads. In the often windy conditions parked cars on the parcours are not an exception and riders switching over to the bike paths in order to pass the peloton increase the chance of crashing into spectators.

Boonen will welcome the climbs, especially on the first day, to get his legs ready for Sunday, but so will some of his Ronde rivals, like Silence-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert and Leif Hoste plus Tomas Vaitkus (Astana). Boonen's teammate, 2008 Ronde winner Stijn Devolder, also looks on top of his game these days.

A good time trial, however, can make the difference in a race often decided by the time bonuses collected, so don't put it past Joost Posthuma to repeat his overall victory from last year.

Start list

Rabobank                               Lampre - N.G.C.
1 Joost Posthuma (Ned)                 11 Angelo Furlan (Ita)
2 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned)                12 Daniele Righi (Ita)
3 Graeme Brown (Aus)                   13 Marco Bandiera (Ita)
4 Rick Flens (Ned)                     14 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita)
5 Marc De Maar (Ned)                   15 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita)
6 Pedro Horrillo (Spa)                 16 Massimiliano Mori (Ita)
7 Tom Leezer (Ned)                     17 Marcin Sapa (Pol)
8 Jos Van Emden (Ned)                  18 Simon Spilak (Slo)
Silence-Lotto                          Astana
21 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel)              32 Dimitri Muravyev (Kaz)
22 Philippe Gilbert (Bel)              33 Assan Bazayev (Kaz)
23 Leif Hoste (Bel)                    34 Grégory Rast (Swi)
24 Roy Sentjens (Bel)                  35 Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz)
25 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)             36 Berik Anuarbekovich Kupeshov (Kaz)
26 Sebastian Lang (Ger)                37 Michael Schär (Swi)
27 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel)             38 Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz)
28 Mickael Delage (Fra)                
Quick Step                             Team Katusha
41 Tom Boonen (Bel)                    51 Filippo Pozzato (Ita)
42 Stijn Devolder (Bel)                52 Robbie McEwen (Aus)
43 Matteo Tosatto (Ita)                53 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus)
44 Jürgen Van De Walle (Bel)           54 Nicolay Trussov (Rus)
45 Marco Velo (Ita)                    55 Sergueï Ivanov (Rus)
46 Kevin Van Impe (Bel)                56 Guennadi Mikhaïlov (Rus)
47 Wouter Weylandt (Bel)               57 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel)
48 Kevin De Weert (Bel)                58 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus)
Team Columbia - Highroad               BBox Bouygues Telecom
61 Mark Cavendish (GBr)                71 Steve Chainel (Fra)
62 Bernhard Eisel (Aut)                72 Mathieu Claude (Fra)
63 Bert Grabsch (Ger)                  73 Saïd Haddou (Fra)
64 Gert Dockx (Bel)                    74 Vincent Jerome (Fra)
65 Gregory Henderson (NZl)             75 Arnaud Labbe (Fra)
66 Mark Renshaw (Aus)                  76 Rony Martias (Fra)
67 Vicente Reynes (Spa)                77 Sébastien Turgot (Fra)
68 Marcel Sieberg (Ger)                78 Julien Belgy (Fra)
Fuji-Servetto                          Garmin - Slipstream
81 Daniele Nardello (Ita)              91 Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
82 Hilton Clarke (Aus)                 92 Chris Sutton (Aus)
83 Josep Jufre (Spa)                   93 Martijn Maaskant (Ned)
84 Ermanno Capelli (Ita)               94 Hans Dekkers (Ned)
85 Ivan Dominguez (Cub)                95 Svein Tuft (Can)
86 Angel Gomez (Spa)                   96 Steven Cozza (USA)
87 Boris Shpilevsky (Rus)              97 Michael Friedman (USA)
88 Iker Camano (Spa)                   98 William Frischkorn (USA)
Liquigas                               Team Milram
101 Daniele Bennati (Ita)              111 Robert Förster (Ger)
102 Francesco Chichi (Ita)             112 Niki Terpstra (Ned)
103 Manuel Quinziato (Ita)             113 Wim Stroetinga (Ned)
104 Enrico Franzoï (Ita)               114 Luca Barla (Ita)
105 Frederik Willems (Bel)             115 Artur Gajek (Ger)
106 Maciek Bodnar (Pol)                116 Paul Voss (Ger)
107 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita)             117 Martin Müller (Ger)
108 Daniel Oss (Ita)                   118 Dominik Roels (Ger)
Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator         Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
121 Preben Van Hecke (Bel)             131 Denis Flahaut (Fra)
122 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel)         132 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel)
123 Kristof Goddaert (Bel)             133 David Boucher (Fra)
124 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel)               134 Koen Barbe (Bel)
125 Geert Steurs (Bel)                 135 Kevin Neirynckx (Bel)
126 Bart Van Heule (Bel)               136 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel)
127 Johan Coenen (Bel)                 137 Martial Ricci Poggi (Fra)
128 Stijn Neirynck (Bel)               138 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned)
Barloworld                             Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
141 Robert Hunter (RSA)                151 Baden Cooke (Aus)
142 Diego Caccia (Ita)                 152 Bobbie Traksel (Ned)
143 Patrick Calcagni (Swi)             153 Aart Vierhouten (Ned)
144 Stephen Cummings (GBr)             154 Gerben Löwik (Ned)
145 Daryl Impey (RSA)                  155 Wim De Vocht (Bel)
146 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita)         156 Borut Bozic (Slo)
147 Carlo Scognamiglio (Ita)           157 Jens Mouris (Ned)
148 Michele Merlo (Ita)                158 Lieuwe Westra (Ned)
Contentpolis-Ampo                      Amica Chips - Knauf
161 Claudio Casas Gallego (Spa)        171 Simone Cadamuro (Ita)
162 Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr)                 172 Grega Bole (Slo)
163 Sergio Dominguez (Spa)             173 Giuseppe De Maria (Ita)
164 Mikel Gaztanaga (Spa)              174 Michal Golas (Pol)
165 Francisco Pacheco Torres (Spa)     175 Francesco Rivera (Ita)
166 Ruben Reig (Spa)                   176 Mirco Selvaggi (Ita)
167 Rafael Serrano (Spa)               177 Paolo Tomaselli (Ita)
168 Pedro Jose Vera Alcaraz (Spa)      178 Matija Kvasina (Cro)
Skil-Shimano                           Vorarlberg - Corratec
181 Roy Curvers (Ned)                  191 René Haselbacher (Aut)
182 Bert De Backer (Bel)               192 Wim Van Huffel (Bel)
183 David Deroo (Fra)                  193 René Weissinger (Ger)
184 Mitchell Docker (Aus)              194 Silvère Ackermann (Swi)
185 Cheng Ji (Chn)                     195 Reto Hollenstein (Swi)
186 Long Jin (Chn)                     196 Philipp Ludescher (Aut)
187 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned)      197 Daniel Musiol (Ger)
188 Feng Han (Chn)                     198 Matic Strgar (Slo)
PSK Whirlpool - Author                 CSF Group - Navigare
201 Petr Bencik (Cze)                  211 Federico Canuti (Ita)
202 Vojtech Dlouhy (Cze)               212 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita)
203 Matthias Friedemann (Ger)          213 Marco Finetto (Ita)
204 Frantisek Kloucek, Jr. (Cze)       214 Marco Frapporti (Ita)
205 Petr Kubias (Cze)                  215 Alan Marangoni (Ita)
206 André Schulze (Ger)                216 Marcello Pavarin (Ita)
207 Pavel Zitta (Cze)                  217 Mauro Abel Richeze (Arg)
208 Antonin Linda (Cze)                218 Filippo Savini (Ita)
Palmans Cras                           
221 Andy Cappelle (Bel)                
222 Dieter Capelle (Bel)               
223 Bjorn Coomans (Bel)                
224 Stijn Hoornaert (Bel)              
225 Geert Omloop (Bel)                 
226 Kenny Van Der Schueren (Bel)       
227 Sjef De Wilde (Bel)                
228 Jean Zen (Fra)                     

Past winners

2008 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank
2007 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
2006 Leif Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel
2005 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel
2004 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
2003 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
2002 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
2001 Nico Mattan (Bel)
2000 Vjatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)
1999 Peter Van Petegem (Bel)
1998 Michele Bartoli (Ita)
1997 Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1996 Vjatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)
1995 Michele Bartoli (Ita)
1994 Fabio Roscioli (Ita)
1993 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1992 Frans Maassen (Ned)
1991 Jelle Nijdam (Ned)
1990 Erwin Nijboer (Ned)
1989 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1988 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1987 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1986 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1985 Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke (Bel)
1984 Bert Oosterbosch (Ned)
1983 Cees Priem (Ned)
1982 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)
1981 Jan Bogaert (Bel)
1980 Sean Kelly (Ire)
1979 Gustave Van Roosbroeck (Bel)
1978 Guido Van Sweevelt (Bel)
1977 Roger Rosiers (Bel)

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,