Three Days of West Flanders, Stage 3: Ichtegem to Ichtegem, 185.7km/115mi

- by Cathy Mehl

On a rain-soaked day the diminishing peloton of 57 riders competed in the final stage of Three Days of West Flanders. With Team Astana's Russian fast man Sergey Ivanov battling for the stage win, he ended up third on both the stage and the overall general classification. Teammate Koen de Kort grabbed 9th on the day and 5th overall. The tough final stage saw race leader Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ) lose his grip on the yellow jersey as Dutchman Bobbie Traksel (P3 Transfer) managed to just carve out the race win by taking the stage and time bonuses that went with the victory, holding off a grab for the win by Niko Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen).

A mid-race break of seven riders included Roger Hammond of Team High Road who managed to gain a maximum time gap of 1.45 before the peloton came all together on the final finishing circuits. Eckhout went on the attack and was joined by Ivanov as a group of 12 chased from behind. Working well together the duo maintained a gap of almost a minute at 20k to go and looked solid on their ride into Ichtegem.

Attacking from the chase group, Traksel managed to catch Ivanov and Eckhout. The trio sprinted for the win with the Dutch rider able to hold off the others, with Eckhout claiming 2nd place and Ivanov completing the podium on Sunday's stage.

Stage 3 results
1 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus 4.22.11 (42.5 km/h)
2 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
3 Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Astana 0.03
4 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) Cycle Collstrop 1.05
5 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team High Road 1.14
6 Geert Omloop (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi
7 Koen Barbe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
8 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Mitsubishi-Jartazi
9 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana
10 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence - Lotto

21 Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) 4.43
23 Assan Bazayev (Kaz)
26 Michael Schr (Swi)

Final General Classification
1 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus 12.57.01
2 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 0.04
3 Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Astana 0.15
4 Frdric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tnissteiner 1.29
5 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana 1.30
6 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Mitsubishi-Jartazi 1.32
7 Koen Barbe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
8 Martin Velits (Svk) Team Milram
9 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence - Lotto
10 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tnissteiner

12 Michael Schr (Swi) 4.58
38 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) 19.21
56 Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) 35.46

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