The Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne closes the Belgian cycling year on Wednesday 21 October. The one-day race has been part of the UCI WorldTour since last year and on paper seems to be a prey for the sprinters. Who will succeed Dylan Groenewegen? We look ahead to the course and the contenders.
The very first edition of the Driedaagse was won in 1977 by the Belgian Roger Rosiers. Strangely enough it was a four-day event at the time. Gradually, the multi-day course grew into a final stopover direction the Tour of Flanders. Specialists such as Eric Vanderaerden (record holder with five victories) and Peter Van Petegem even managed to win the Ronde and the Driedaagse in the same year. In recent years the status of the Three Days has declined. More and more top players skipped the game and preferred extra rest direction Flanders’ Most Beautiful.
Belgian champion Gilbert won the last ‘multi-day’ Three Days in 2017 – photo: Cor Vos
In 2018, the calendar took a new turn, because the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne changed date with Dwars door Vlaanderen. In addition, the structure of the Driedaagse (previously also De Panne-Koksijde) was changed. The organization decided to make it a three-day event with a one-day race for men, a one-day race for women and a third day dedicated to recreational sports. What was preserved was the region of the trail, across West Flemish territory through De Moeren, among others.
Last ten winners Three Days Bruges-De Panne
2019: Dylan Groenewegen
2018: Elia Viviani
2017: Philippe Gilbert
2016: Lieuwe Westra
2015: Alexander Kristoff
2014: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
2013: Sylvain Chavanel
2012: Sylvain Chavanel
2011: Sebastien Rosseler
2010: David Millar
In last year’s edition, an early breakaway of six riders, including Stan Dewulf, Jimmy Janssens, Senne Leysen, Adrien Garel, Jasha Sütterlin and Mathijs Paasschens, had no chance for victory. Despite a climb of the Kemmelberg and a passage through the Moeren, a bunch sprint was inevitable. The last attackers were caught nine kilometers before the finish.
Team Sky piloted Kristoffer Halvorsen to the finish, but was outclassed by Elia Viviani’s train at Quick-Step. Viviani sprinted on the left side of the road, but on the other side, Dylan Groenewegen and Fernando Gaviria fought an exciting duel. The Dutchman chose to pass Gaviria on the outside and won the sprint by force majeure.
There is no measure on Groenewegen in De Panne – photo: Cor Vos
Three-day Bruges-De Panne 2019
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates)
3. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)
5. Justin Jules (Wallonia-Brussels)
Where previously organizers try to get as much audience as possible to their match, in this atypical corona year it is discouraged to come and watch. The organization of Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne therefore calls on people to stay at home. Last weekend, during the Tour of Flanders, that went more than excellent and the organization hopes that cycling fans will follow suit on Wednesday.
Partly for this reason, no track information has been published on the website of the Belgian sprint classic. In any case, the start in Bruges and the finish in De Panne will be kept free of the public and along the course the aim is to minimize the number of people.
What do we know? The course is over 200 kilometers long, according to the site’s own site to be exact 212.5 kilometers. We also know that the loop towards the Kemmelberg, which also includes the Monteberg, the Rodeberg and the Sulferberg, will be canceled. Instead, the peloton will head from Bruges to the local circuit around De Panne immediately after the start. Along the way, the course passes Zedelgem, Aartrijk and Sint-Pieters-Kapelle.
As soon as the local circuit has started, a round – anti-clockwise – of more than 40 kilometers will follow via Oostduinkerke, Koksijde, De Panne (finish), Adinkerke, De Moeren and Veurne. This round is taken a total of three times. In De Moeren, the chance seems to influence Mother Nature the biggest. If the course does not open up there, a bunch sprint seems inevitable.
Start and finish times have not been announced. From the broadcast times of Sporza it can be concluded that the arrival is Wednesday afternoon around 4 pm.
There is a good chance that a sprinter will take the victory on Wednesday. In the absence of defending champion Dylan Groenewegen, we look forward to other sprinters on the start list. Lotto Soudal has met Caleb Ewan the absolute top favorite at the start. Especially now that the hill zone has been scrapped, the course is made for the super-fast Australian. Last week, Ewan showed that he could win in Belgium when he won the Scheldeprijs by force majeure. If it comes to a sprint, Ewan will be difficult to beat.
Caleb Ewan – photo: Cor Vos
Ewan will get his regular lead-out Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge with him. They have to put the little sprinter in good position. Should it become a tough race due to the weather conditions, Lotto Soudal can also fall back on John Degenkolb. The experienced German has had some excellent classics. He finished sixth in Gent-Wevelgem and ninth in the Tour of Flanders. So for Lotto Soudal game tip 6 applies: spread your chances.
Alpecin-Fenix can do that too. Tour of Flanders winner Mathieu van der Poel announced before his historic victory in Oudenaarde that he would end his road season here in De Panne. “Due to the loss of Paris-Roubaix, I try to take everything I can, including the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, after all a WorldTour race”, said the Dutch champion.
Mathieu van der Poel – photo: Cor Vos
The weather (see ‘Weather and TV’ at the bottom of this preview, ed.) Seems to play into Van der Poel’s hands. “I hope for a real fan race with a lot of action. If not, I will serve Tim Merlier, with whom we can also bet on the sprint ”, said Van der Poel. With that he has immediately named Alpecin-Fenix’s second trump card. And if Merlier doesn’t have the opportunity to sprint, then from MVDP always getting involved in the bunch sprint.
UAE Emirates comes with former winner Alexander Kristoff coming up. The experienced Norwegian won this competition in 2015 when it was still a multi-day event. Kristoff’s form is good. For example, he had an outlier in the Tour of Flanders last weekend, where he sprinted to third place behind Van der Poel and Wout van Aert. Last week he entered the service of Jasper Philipsen (who now rides the Vuelta) in the Scheldeprijs. Will Kristoff get his own chance now? The weather plays in his favor: the Norwegian is a good bad weather driver.
Alexander Kristoff – photo: Cor Vos
Arkéa-Samsic was still in the race for the top position in the Europe Tour for some time, but Alpecin-Fenix has handed out the final KO due to the victory of Mathieu van der Poel in the Tour of Flanders. The French team will want to remain second in the ranking. Nacer Bouhanni seemed to be able to score points in De Panne, but he tested positive for the corona virus and is missing. Daniel McLay, two-time stage winner in the Tour of Portugal, is now Plan B.
Appears on behalf of B&B Hotels-Vital Concept Bryan Coquard at the start. After Pascal Ackermann’s declassification, Coquard was allowed on the podium in the Scheldeprijs last week. Can the sprinter, supported by Jens Debusschere, repeat that feat? Niccolò Bonifazio, after Ackermann’s penalty second in the Scheldeprijs, will aspire to a place of honor in the service of Total Direct Energie.
Yves Lampaert – photo: Cor Vos
Deceuninck-Quick-Step will go to the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne without a sprinter. The star ensemble will want to use the severe weather conditions to make the course hard. With Florian Sénéchal (twelfth in the Tour of Flanders) and Yves Lampaert (fifth in the Tour of Flanders), the team has two fast riders in shape to rock the course. Don’t be surprised if Bob Jungels or Bert Van Lerberghe report from the front.
Trek-Segafredo counts on the three musketeers Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns. After his victory in Gent-Wevelgem, Pedersen was lost and he did not participate in De Ronde for the marbles. Stuyven and Theuns did not play a significant role either, but they do have a chance in a possible sprint in De Panne.
Jasper Stuyven – photo: Cor Vos
At CCC Matteo Trentin the designated leader. Since the fall of Greg Van Avermaet, he has been carrying the pressure of the team on his shoulders. In Gent-Wevelgem, Trentin was still cleverly third, but in the Tour of Flanders he disappointed with 62nd place. Stefan Küng is in the same boat at Groupama-FDJ: he finished fifth in Wevelgem and finished outside the top-100 in De Ronde due to stomach problems. In a sprint, neo-pro Jake Stewart can be played out.
Circus-Wanty Goubert travels to West Flanders with several options. In the person of Danny van Poppel Hilaire Vanderschueren’s formation has a rider with a strong final shot. The Dutch sprinter won the Gooikse Pijl last month and finished fourth in the BinckBank Tour twice. With Andrea Pasqualon and Timothy Dupont, the team has several trumps up its sleeve.
Jumbo-Visma has Mike Teunissen and Amund Grøndahl Jansen on the start list, but their form is not great. Max Walscheid (NTT Pro Cycling) showed himself briefly in De Ronde, but his attempt did not last. The strong German can also try in a sprint. So are the Bahrain McLaren duo Phil Bauhaus and Mark Cavendish.
Matteo Trentin – photo: Cor Vos
A large group of riders are among the outsiders when the race ends in a bunch sprint. Think of Moreno Hofland (EF Pro Cycling), Chris Lawless (INEOS Grenadiers), Christophe Laporte, Attilio Viviani (Cofidis), Kenneth Van Rooy, Sacha Weemaes (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sean De Bie, Baptiste Planckaert (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles ), Travis McCabe (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Arvid de Kleijn (Riwal-Securitas). Riders like home rider Jens Keukeleire, Owain Doull, André Greipel, Hugo Hofstetter, Tom Van Asbroeck and Johan Jacobs will hope for a tough race in West Flanders.
Favorites according to WielerFlits
**** Caleb Ewan
*** Mathieu van der Poel, Alexander Kristoff
** Tim Merlier, Bryan Coquard, Yves Lampaert
* John Degenkolb, Niccolò Bonifazio, Danny van Poppel, Matteo Trentin
Participant List (ProCyclingStats)
Weather and TV
On Wednesday afternoon, the temperature will fluctuate between 14 ° C and 18 ° C all day, expected Meteovista. In the afternoon there is a good chance of rainfall, but above all: there is a lot of wind. It blows at wind force 5 to 6 and comes from a south / southwestern direction. That is not very favorable for the passages through the Moeren. The wind will then mainly be against or at an angle. But the riders are doing a local lap, so somewhere the wind is coming from the side. That promises something for fans!
The TV broadcast on Sporza on One starts Wednesday at 2.15 pm. The broadcast will last until approximately 4.25 pm, after which the VRT will switch to the live broadcast of the Vuelta a España.
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