Cancellara wins E3 Harelbeke 2013

RadioShack-Leopard racer rides to solo victory

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) soloed to an emphatic victory at E3 Harelbeke to deliver an ominous message to his rivals ahead of next Sunday's Tour of Flanders. The Swiss rider attacked alone from an elite group on the Oude Kwaremont with all of 35 kilometres to go and reached Harelbeke with a resounding advantage of 1:08 over Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Daniel Oss (BMC) and Geraint Thomas (Sky).

On a chilly afternoon in Flanders, Cancellara was present and correct at every major rendezvous of the race and then landed the knock-out blow to take his third victory in E3 Harelbeke in four years, and install himself as the outright favourite for Ronde victory on March 31.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had looked to dictate terms when his forcing on the Taaienberg brought an elite group of eight riders - Cancellara included - clear with 60km still to race. With Peter Sagan (Cannondale) caught behind, however, there was a regrouping before the Paterberg, where Boonen again looked to stretch the leaders.

Cancellara was promptly onto Boonen's wheel but he waited until the following Oude Kwaremont to deliver his full response. The Swiss rider's ferocious tempo on the climb burnt everyone off his wheel, with Sagan the last man to yield. On cresting the summit, Cancellara opted to put his head down and drive on alone towards the finish, quickly opening out a lead of over a minute.

"It was intuition to go on the Oude Kwaremont and just see if I could break down the group a little more,” Cancellara said. “We knew the Oude Kwaremont was an important key in the race, as it will be in the Tour of Flanders. We watched some days ago the finale of the E3 of 2011 and 2012 on the computer and this is also part of the preparation for the race."

Cancellara's move spread panic in the chasers behind, and Boonen was left behind as Sagan, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Thomas, Oss and Sebastien Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge) tried to limit the damage, but there was nothing to be done in the face of Cancellara's startling show of strength in the finale.

Cancellara coasted up the final climb of the Tiegemberg and maintained his advantage on the flat, exposed run-in to the line in Harelbeke for a win every bit as resounding as his triumph here in 2011. Sagan took the sprint for 2nd ahead of Oss, while Boonen led home the main peloton over two minutes down on Cancellara.

"You have to take it when you can as you never know what tomorrow brings," Cancellara said of the win, his first since the Tour de France prologue last July, and his first road race win since Strade Bianche over a year ago. "After my crash in Flanders last year this was my first race on this special ground. I saw that there were many Omega Pharma-QuickSteps in the front, so I decided to try something. It was a so hard but such a unique experience. Many things crossed my mind. This is a great win for me and for the team. Anything that will come now is a bonus."

How it unfolded

Tom Boonen rolled up for the start with a jersey beating the legend ‘5 times,’ referring to his five wins in the E3 Harelbeke, but most of his fellow riders were more interested in the improvement in temperatures, with many opting for short sleeves.

The unfavourable wind didn’t tempt many riders into a long breakaway attempt, although after 70km of racing, a group of six riders tried their luck. Eloy Teruel (Movistar) was joined by Anders Lund (Saxo-Tinkoff), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM), Koen Barbé (Crelan-Euphony), Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana) and Stefan van Dijk (Accent Jobs-Wanty). Twenty kilometres later the six had a gap of three minutes on the peloton. The gap of the leaders grew up to about three minutes until Omega Pharma-Quickstep started setting the pace in the peloton. Around that point, 2011 Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp) pulled out of the race, which probably means he’ll skip most of the Flemish classics in the coming weeks.

After tackling the first in a long series of hellingen, the breakaway group fell apart as the pace in the peloton kept increasing. After the Boigneberg only Lund, Barbé and Teruel remained in front but after the Stationsberg, shortly before the often crucial Taaienberg, the peloton was back together.

Team Sky led the approach to the Taaienberg but on the climb Boonen forced the issue on his favourite climb, together with Jurgen Roelandts. The duo created a gap but they were soon to be joined by Fabian Cancellara, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Mathew Hayman (Sky). Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) and Daniel Oss needed some more time but joined before the descent. The efforts took its toll, however, as Vanmarcke dropped out of the group shortly after, leaving the race with seven leaders.

A counter-attack from Sylvain Chavanel sparked a series of attacks and that eventually saw a chase group with Lars Boom, Sebastian Langeveld, Vincent Jerome and Stijn Vandenbergh got away. World champion Philippe Gilbert tried but failed to bridge up to this group, while Peter Sagan was attentive near the front of the peloton but didn’t make the cut due to suffering from a mechanical problem.

Langeveld, Jerome, Vandenbergh and a struggling Boom bridged up at the Kanarieberg, at 54km from the finish creating a lead group of eleven riders, with three Omega Pharma-Quickstep riders. In the peloton, Heinrich Haussler (IAM) kept the pace high and a little later the Cannondale team of Sagan took over the chase. On the roads towards the triple whammy of the Kapelberg, Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont, Sagan’s four teammates kept the gap below half a minute and gradually brought him back into contention.

By the Kapelberg, Cannondale’s work had seen them catch the leaders. The pace didn’t drop, however, and as soon as the favourites group was caught they were gone again. This time, Sagan took his rightful place in front while Boom dropped out of the equation. Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Andrey Amador (Movistar) bridged up too at the foot of the Paterberg, where Boonen again forced the issue and – tellingly - Cancellara tracked him very closely indeed.

More riders joined at the Oude Kwaremont but halfway up the climb Cancellara upped the pace. The Swiss rider blasted over the cobbles – while snow sidelined sections of the climb – and dropped everybody, with Sagan the last to relent. By the top of the Oude Kwaremont Cancellara had 15 seconds on the first chasers and opted to continue in his effort alone.

Behind, the favourites were strewn across the hillside. Vandenbergh, Stybar and Boonen were distanced while their teammate Chavanel joined Thomas, Oss, Sebastien Langeveld and Sagan in the principal chase group. By the time Cancellara reached the top of the Knokteberg, his lead was up to a minute over the five chasers. Vandenbergh was on his own behind them, just like Stybar and then a second group with Boasson Hagen, Boonen and co trailed Cancellara by 1:40.

Just like in 2011, Cancellara’s show of strength was decisive, as he managed to match and indeed better the pace of the chase group of five riders on the wide roads after the Knokteberg, maintaining a lead of over a minute and cruising to a dominant win in Harelbeke. The Tour of Flanders has its outright favourite.

“That's life,” Cancellara shrugged. “The most important goals are indeed still coming but let's celebrate first. We worked months for this. Now I can tackle the other races in a more relaxed way. I feel renewed confidence with this win but also renewed pressure as well.”

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard 5:08:28  
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:04  
3 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling    
5 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:08  
6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
7 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:02:15  
8 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha    
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
10 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
11 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling    
12 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
13 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ    
14 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
15 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
16 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
17 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team    
18 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
19 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
20 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
21 Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard    
22 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ    
23 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling    
24 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
25 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
26 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
27 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
28 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling    
29 Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard    
30 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team    
31 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
32 Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling    
33 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
34 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
35 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
36 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling 0:02:27  
37 Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling 0:02:35  
38 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
39 David Boucher (Fra) FDJ 0:03:00  
40 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:04:05  
41 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar 0:04:28  
42 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano 0:05:11  
43 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
44 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
45 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
46 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team    
47 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
48 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
49 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
50 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge    
51 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
52 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
53 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha    
54 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha    
55 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
56 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
57 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
58 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
59 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar    
60 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
61 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
62 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
63 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
64 Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha 0:09:01  
65 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
66 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:09:46  
67 Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
68 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard    
69 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
70 Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling    
71 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol    
72 Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard    
73 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
74 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ    
75 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar    
76 Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp    
77 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling    
78 Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
79 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
80 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
81 Debusschere Jens (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
82 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
83 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge 0:12:15  
84 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:12:16  
85 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge    
86 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
87 Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
88 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar    
89 Florent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
90 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
91 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
92 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
93 Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
94 Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony 0:12:41  
95 Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
96 Koen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
97 Hugo Houle (Can) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:12:46  
98 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNS Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard    
DNS Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNS Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony    
DNS Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar    
DNF Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling    
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Gedimias Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Jos Van Emden (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Mark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF David Tanner (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Alexander Serebryakov (Rus) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Steffen Radochla (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ    
DNF Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ    
DNF Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha    
DNF Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha    
DNF Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha    
DNF Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha    
DNF Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team    
DNF Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team    
DNF Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Roy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Kevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling    
DNF Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling    
DNF Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling    
DNF Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling    
DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar    

 

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