Italy’s Elia Viviani claimed the second stage of Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday, edging out Germany’s Marcel Kittel and overall leader Alexander Kristoff in a sprint finish after a 211km run from Zottegem.
A seven-man breakaway breathed life into the stage, with Dutch rider Pim Ligthart the final escapee to be swallowed up around 20km from the finish.
Etixx-QuickStep set up Kittel to launch an assault for the line with around 250 metres to go, but the German sprint specialist was overtaken by a charging Elia, as the Team Sky rider notched up his second win of the season after claiming a stage on February’s Tour of Dubai.
Katusha rider Kristoff, winner of Tuesday’s opening stage and the defending champion, holds a five-second lead going into Thursday’s concluding split stages – a 111km trip around De Panne is followed by a 14.2km time-trial.
Results from Wednesday’s 211km second stage of the Three Days of De Panne race from Zottegem to Koksijde:
1. Elia Viviani (ITA/Sky) 5hr 1min 4sec, 2. Marcel Kittel (GER) same time, 3. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) s.t., 4. Amaury Capiot (BEL) s.t., 5. Adrien Petit (FRA) s.t., 6. Raymond Kreder (NED) s.t., 7. Paolo Simion (ITA) s.t., 8. Marc Sarreau (FRA) s.t., 9. Erik Baska (SVK) s.t., 10. Ivan Savitsky (RUS) s.t.
1. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) 9hr 23min 24sec, 2. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) at 5sec, 3. Lieuwe Westra (NED) 10, 4. Mads Pedersen (DEN) 43, 5. Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL) 45, 6. Luke Durbridge (AUS) 46, 7. Rick Zabel (GER) 48, 8. Tony Martin (GER) s.t., 9. Michael Morkov (DEN) 49, 10. Amaury Capiot (BEL) 50.
– Agence France-Presse