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Three Days of De Panne 2017 odds

Who wins Three Days of De Panne 2017?

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Celebrating 40 years since its first edition in 1977, the Three Days of De Panne is an oft-overlooked three-day stage race in Belgium.

Held mid-week, immediately before Sunday’s Tour of Flanders (Tuesday March 29), it acts as a tune-up for the Flandrian fireworks to come at the weekend. They say if you’re going well at the Driedaagse (”three days” in Dutch) then it’s a good sign for De Ronde –which couldn’t have been more true last year when Alexander Kristoff took three stages and the overall classification, and then went onto victory in the Tour of Flanders.

Even if it’s more of a curtain-raiser than the main event, there’s still a lot to admire and enjoy about this quirky Belgian race, with its cobbles, crosswinds and general chaos. A relative newbie on the road race scene compared with the venerable monuments, many of them over a century old, De Panne is a dark horse.

Former winners of the Three days of De Panne include Johan Museeuw, Peter Van Petegem and Michele Bartoli. It no longer attracts the same line-ups that it once did but its position in the days leading up to the Tour of Flanders means that it can still bring the likes of Alexander Kristoff and Niki Terpstra. Organisers Veloclub de Panne, fear that moving Dwars door Vlaanderen will be detrimental to their race, as would moving to a different date: ”We are not asking, and we certainly do not agree with Flanders Classics on exchanging our date with Dwars door Vlaanderen. We want to maintain our three-day stage race ahead of the Tour of Flanders in 2018," spokesman Johan Van Hecke told the Belga news agency.

The Three Days De Panne-Koksijde sticks to a now well-known rides package. The first stage will be finished between De Panne and Zottegem and the Wall of Geraardsbergen and some well-known Flemish climbs included in trail. "It's quite tough ride, but not so heavy that we immediately get all the tension out of the race. During the drive towards Koksijde, we do not drive through Ypres but on smaller roads to Wijtschate and so to the hills. In Koksijde we drive two instead of three local laps. The final day of the three day will be finished in De Panne. First there is the short ride, ”Flanders Fields”, and in the afternoon individual time trial. To please the many cycling fans, there are the morning ride local laps," said race director Jurgen Vandewalle.

"There are three WorldTour teams less at the start, but this does not mean that we compromise on quality. World champion Peter Sagan is on the provisional list of participants. Quick Step Floors traditionally delivers a strong team and Marcel Kittel a trump card. The same goes for Lotto-Soudal André Greipel. For a final list is still early, but what we know so far is promising and a guarantee of quality sports cycling parade," Vandewalle added. The Belgian pro-continental teams also adorn the list of participants.