Report: E3 Harelbeke

Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) goes man-o-man with Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert and wins E3 Harelbeke, his second UCI WorldTour individual victory of the season.

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Report: E3 Harelbeke

BMC Team Press Release

Greg Van Avermaet showed he is in winning form when he sprinted to victory at Record Bank E3 Harelbeke, his second UCI WorldTour individual victory of the season.

The sprint for the line came down to Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors) and Olivier Naesen (AG2R), after the trio proved the strongest on the day when they dropped the rest of the field with 30km to go. Earlier, it took almost two hours of racing for a breakaway to go clear when the peloton finally let six riders escape.

The pace in the peloton remained high and the race took a turn when Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Floors) attacked on the Taaienberg with 75km to go. Daniel Oss immediately jumped on Boonen’s wheel and a small group of around 20 riders formed, including Van Avermaet and Loïc Vliegen.

The group powered away from the peloton and had a small gap to begin with, before putting the hammer down, extending their lead and catching the breakaway with 66km to go. 30km later, the group was down to seven riders and within 10km, the podium trio had established a solid lead.

Behind, the peloton tried to bridge the gap but their multiple attacks were covered brilliantly by Oss, Vliegen and Silvan Dillier. With 10km to go, the Van Avermaet trio had almost two minutes on the bunch and it was clear the podium would be decided in the sprint.

Van Avermaet kept a close eye on Gilbert and Naesen and had the legs to edge Gilbert out on the line, with Naesen coming in behind. Van Avermaet’s win sees him lead the UCI WorldTour individual ranking.

The Winner’s Interview with Greg Van Avermaet

Congratulations Greg! How does it feel to win today?
“This is a really nice win. I know how hard it is to win here. At the beginning of the year, I had only been on the podium once here in 2008. That says it enough, I think. Every year I come back with high expectations and every year it is hard to win this kind of race. I am happy that I have two wins in my pocket now but at the beginning of the season, I said that Tour of Flanders is my big goal. That still has to happen, but it is nice to start with two victories on home soil.”

Were you confident you could win the sprint?
“I was confident, but you are never sure. You have to believe in yourself to win a sprint. I knew that if everything went right, I could beat everyone in a sprint on a hard race but you have to be really focused and everything has to go perfectly. But Gilbert has a good sprint, so you are never 100% sure.”

How can you describe the team’s efforts today?
“I think we were much better today than in Milan-San Remo. I also made a mistake there to not get into the right position at a crucial moment, but today they did well. They positioned me in the right place. Daniel Oss has to stand up; he is a good guy. I really believe in him, and he is one of the strongest riders in the peloton and with Stefan Küng and Jempy Drucker, I think we can be confident. We don’t have the team like Quickstep-Floors, but we have strong guys who can help me, and I am really confident in them.”

Does the win give you confidence before Ronde van Vlaanderen?
“It always helps with your confidence going into a big race when you get the win, and the guys know that I am good and that I will always try. If you win, you see that the team gets stronger and more confident. It’s good to start a race like Ronde van Vlaanderen with the confidence of the team. They know I am ready and when the leader is good, most of the time the team comes also.”

… continued after advert


Philippe Gilbert: “We did a great race today and all the guys did a marvelous job, covering the moves of our rivals and keeping me in a good position. Over the top of the Taaienberg, we had a gap, and although I wasn’t sure that group will stick, I decided to give it a go, so from that moment on it was full gas all the way to the finish line in Harelbeke”, said the 34-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider.

“In the sprint, Naesen surprised me when he opened his sprint and I hesitated for a second. That, and the headwind, made it really hard to get back in the front. It’s a pity, because I was there and could have won, but that’s racing. I’m looking at the bright side of things, which is that my form is good and I’ve rediscovered those sensations that make me feel at ease on the cobbles. In these races, you have to work hard to get into the best position and to keep it. I really like this. I found again my fighting spirit and this makes me happy. I’m back!”, concluded Gilbert, who on Sunday will line out for the 79th edition of Gent-Wevelgem.

Peter Sagan: “It was a tough race. I didn’t jump on the front group when they attacked and made the decisive move and then the crash wiped out all the chances I had to bridge the gap. However, I’m very happy with the result of Lukas. He did a great race and showed he’s a very strong young rider. It’s also a very good result for BORA – hansgrohe overall.”

1. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team
2. Philippe Gilbert, Quick-Step Floors
3. Oliver Naesen, AG2R La Mondiale
4. Luke Durbridge, ORICA-Scott @ 38 secs
5. Lukas Pöstlberger, Bora – Hansgrohe @40
6. Michael Valgren, Astana Pro Team1 @51
7. Sonny Colbrelli, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team @53
8. Tom Boonen, Quick-Step Floors
9. Dylan van Baarle, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
10. Alberto Bettiol, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team

13. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
15. Luke Rowe, Team Sky
19. Niki Terpstra, Quick-Step Floors
21. Tony Martin, Team Katusha – Alpecin
22. Matteo Trentin, Quick-Step Floors 0:57
23. Sep Vanmarcke, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 1:53
27. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha – Alpecin
30. Scott Thwaites, Dimension Data
37. Mathew Hayman, ORICA-Scott
56. Ian Stannard, Team Sky
59. Thomas Scully, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
99. Edvald Boasson Hagen Dimension Data 10:45
108. Peter Sagan, Bora – Hansgrohe



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,