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Flanders -U S Postal news

 
By Podofdonny
Date: 4/5/2002

Flanders -U S Postal news

 

In his final tune-up for Sunday's Tour of Flanders World Cup event, the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team's George Hincapie turned in one of the best time trials of his career to finish third overall at the Three Days of the Panne stage race in De Panne, Belgium.

Hincapie finished second in today's 14 kilometer time trial in De Panne, 19 seconds back of stage and race winner Peter Van Petegem of Lotto. Van Petegem averaged just under 50 kilometers an hour to finish the stage in 17 minutes. Overall, Van Petegem won the race by 32 second's over Mapei's Stefano Zanini, winner of Tuesday's opening stage and race leader until the final stage. Hincapie finished 1:03 back.

"This was definitely my best time trial ever," Hincapie said. "I have never placed second in a fairly long time trial, so for me it was a good result. It seemed like I hadn't raced in so long since Milan-San Remo (March 23). I was real worried having missed Tirreno Adriatico (due to a stomach virus), but I have been training super hard, the hardest I have trained in my life, and tried to simulate race conditions at my home."

Hincapie finished in the top 30 in the first two stages before finishing fourth in today's first stage, a 114 km race in De Panne.

"This was a good race for me," Hincapie said. "The first day I didn't feel super but the second day I felt better and today I felt much better. I feel fresh having missed all of those races and now I'm here "amped" and excited to race. I think that has been the difference over the past years. Usually, I enter these races with a lot of race days in my legs but this year it's different and I think it's paying off."

Hincapie's teammate Dylan Casey finished fourth in the time trial today, 29 seconds back, while first year professional Tom Boonen turned in another strong performance, placing eighth in the stage (at 40 seconds) and seventh overall (1:24 back). After placing 25th in the time trial stage, Antonio Cruz finished an impressive 13th overall.

Hincapie remains confident heading into Sunday's 86th running of the Tour of Flanders.

" The team is very strong - Lance (Armstrong) is flying, and all the other guys like Tom, Christian (Vande Velde), (Gianpaolo) Mondini and (Pavel) Padrnos are super strong. The whole team feels confident. On Sunday, I will need to have good luck and have a couple of guys with me at the end, which I think I will have this year - I'm ready."

STAGE 3B, THREE DAYS OF THE PANNE

1. Peter Van Petegem, Lotto-Adecco; 14 kms in 17:00

2. George Hincapie, U.S. Postal Service; at :19

3. Nico Eeckhout, Lotto-Adecco; at :23

4. Dylan Casey, U.S. Postal Service; at :29

5. Robert Hunter, Mapei-Quick Step; at :30

***

8. Tom Boonen, U.S. Postal Service; at :40

25. Antonio Cruz, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:06

48. Pavel Padrnos, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:31

64. Gianpaolo Mondini, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:46

DNS - David Clinger, U.S. Postal Service

FINAL GC, THREE DAYS OF THE PANNE

1. Van Petegem; 12:24:23

2. Stefano Zanini, Mapei-Quick Step; at :32

3. Hincapie; at 1:03

4. Eeckhout; at 1:03

5. Hunter; at 1:12

***

7. Boonen; at 1:24

13. Cruz; at 1:50

82. Mondini; at 13:19

100. Padrnos; at 24:01

104. Casey; at 29:25


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