Koksijde – Norway’s Alexander Kristoff won a bunch sprint ahead of Belgium’s Edward Theuns and German ace Marcel Kittel to claim stage two of the Three Days of De Panne after a hilly 193km ride from Zottegem on Wednesday.
Local rider Philippe Gilbert strengthened his overall lead after his solo win on stage one.
The 34-year-old Ardennes Classics specialist put in some powerful turns at the front in a final 50km marked by breaks in the peloton. Gilbert’s efforts eventually dropped Australian Luke Durbridge, who was in second place overnight.
Gilbert holds a 50-second lead on Matthias Brandle in the overall standings, with Kristoff 1min 07sec behind in third ahead of the final day’s racing.
Thursday’s stage is split into two sections with a morning run around De Panne and an afternoon time trial over 14.2km.
Results from the 193km second stage of Three Days of De Panne cycling tour:
1.Alexander Kristoff (NOR/Katusha), 193km in 4hr 34min 55sec, 2. Edward Theuns (BEL) same time, 3. Marcel Kittel (GER) s.t., 4. Pascal Ackermann (GER) s.t., 5. Andrea Guardini (ITA) s.t., 6. Maxime Vantomme (BEL) s.t., 7. Adrien Petit (FRA) s.t., 8. Coen Vermeltfoort (NED) s.t., 9. Pierre-Luc Perichon (FRA) s.t., 10. Conor Dunne (IRL) s.t.
1. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/Quick Step Floors) 9hr 13min 28sec, 2. Matthias Brandle (AUT) at 50sec, 3. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) 1min 07sec, 4. Edward Theuns (BEL) 1:11, 5. Pim Ligthart (NED) 1:15, 6. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) 1:15, 7. Maxime Vantomme (BEL) 1:17, 8. Pierre-Luc Perichon (FRA) 1:17, 9. Boy van Poppel (NED) 1:22, 10. Jasper De Buyst (BEL) 2:25