The rewards for a good week’s work…
• Matveyev, however, won the TT in the Tour of Langkawi last year and has twice won the season-closing, Firenze – Pistoia chrono, as well as being Ukraine time test champion in 2003 – he could spring a surprise here.
• Big Bert Roesems was Belgian TT champion in 2004 and has five silvers and a bronze in the same race; he also has home advantage and good form. All of that said, Millar should win the stage, he’s won it before, in 1998 with Cofidis; but the overall is wide open.
Tony Cruz’s Trek TTX – just the look of this bike could knock seconds off your time. Discovery went home with the stage win – and the team stage win.
Stage 3b Parcours: Out and home, 11 kilometres, flat, fast and it’s usually a tail-wind home at warp speed. There’s cobbles to finish, so make sure all your fillings are secure, those chrono bikes don’t flex much. The sun is splitting the skies and there’s a rising breeze off the sea.
As Ballan preps to win, he gets a little advice from “the Cyclone” – aka DS Guido Bontempi.
Stage 3b, The Race. The best 120 make the cut, Matt White (Disco) missed it but is chatting to a Belgian lovely – beats riding 54 x 11 through the cross-wind. They go off in reverse order and the lowly placed riders stab half-heartedly at the pedals as they roll down the ramp, just another day at the office.
• Millar is the favourite and starts half way down the field, but Disco’s Stijn Devolder springs an upset and beats him by a handful of seconds, maybe it was all those cobbles? Have we seen the winner already? We couldn’t think of anyone to beat Millar, so if Devolder beat him then who can beat the boyish-looking Belgian? For the final GC we get technical and get the watch running as they come in to the finish.
Bert is first to pass so he’s on 00; next is Posthuma, he’s 3 seconds up on Bert – we didn’t expect that; Muravyev is 10 seconds down on Bert; Ballan has ridden out of his skin and is only 5 seconds down on Bert.
• Paolini – he must have stopped for a beer; 1-16 off Bert’s pace.
Ballan wins, Posthuma second and Bert third. Devolder wins the stage and it’s all over for another year. Will Ballan do the double on Sunday, keep it Pezzed!
Interview of the Day: T-Mobile DS Alan Peiper
• Pez: ‘How has De Panne been for T-Mobile, so-far?’
• AP: “Shit! But realistically, we’ve got four riders who have been sick; Cavendish, Griepel, Ciolek and Klier so we can’t expect a lot. Ciolek was 18th in his first Primavera and that speaks for itself. Cavendish has been sick since he was second in the stage at Beseges, but what I liked about him that day was, he was cussing and spitting because he didn’t win – you want riders who get pissed-off if they don’t win. Eisel is going OK and this is just preparation for Hammond – we’re looking for big things from him in Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.”
• PEZ: And what about Sunday?
• AP: “Pozzato, Boonen and Boogert are my tips but I think Kim Kirchen will be up there too, he’s very motivated for it.”
(With thanks to Hotel Maxim for their kind help with our wi-fi support).
The de panne of De Panne: Ballan in 1st, Posthuma second, and Roesems third. Watch for these guys Sunday…
Results: DePanne07 St 4
1. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel 13.25.7 (49,193 km/h)
2. David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.07.9
3. Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel 0.09.9
4. Sйbastien Rosseler (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 0.16.5
5. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.18.7
6. Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 0.19.0
7. Olaf Pollack (Ger) Wiesenhof-Felt 0.21.5
8. Bert Roesems (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 0.23.0
9. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Discovery Channel 0.24.0
10. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.26.2
1. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 12.48.07 (42,892 km/h)
2. Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 0.06
3. Bert Roesems (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 0.11
4. Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 0.17
5. Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel 0.38
6. Sйbastien Rosseler (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 0.45
7. Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 0.49
8. Markus Eichler (Ger) Unibet.com 0.54
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.55
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas 1.06