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) TeamResult
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard5:08:28 
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:01:04 
3Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
4Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling  
5Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge0:01:08 
6Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
7Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:15 
8Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha  
9Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling  
10Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar  
11Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
12Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
13Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
14Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team  
15Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
16Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
17Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
18Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
19Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
20Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
21Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard  
22Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
23Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
24Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
25Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
26Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
27Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
28Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
29Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard  
30Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
31Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
32Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling  
33Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
34Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
35Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
36Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling0:02:27 
37Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling0:02:35 
38Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
39David Boucher (Fra) FDJ0:03:00 
40Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:04:05 
41Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:04:28 
42Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano0:05:11 
43Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
44Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
45Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
46Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
47Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
48Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
49Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
50Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
51Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
52Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
53Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha  
54Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha  
55Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
56Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
57Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
58Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
59David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar  
60Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
61Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
62Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
63Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
64Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha0:09:01 
65John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano  
66Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:09:46 
67Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
68Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard  
69Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
70Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling  
71Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
72Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard  
73Stuart O'grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
74William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
75Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
76Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp  
77Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling  
78Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
79Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
80Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
81Debusschere Jens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
82Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
83Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge0:12:15 
84Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:12:16 
85Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge  
86Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
87Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
88Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar  
89Florent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
90Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
91Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
92Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
93Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
94Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony0:12:41 
95Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
96Koen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
97Hugo Houle (Can) Ag2R La Mondiale0:12:46 
98Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNSTony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard  
DNSLloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNSEgidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony  
DNSBjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
DNFIljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFNiki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFThor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
DNFKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMarkel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFKenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol  
DNFSalvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFGedimias Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFValentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFAssan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMauro Da Dalto (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFEdward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFPeio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFGarikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFAdrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFRuben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFAlexander Serebryakov (Rus) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFIoannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFSteffen Radochla (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ  
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ  
DNFDominique Rollin (Can) FDJ  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMartijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFDavid Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFNick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFSebastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha  
DNFAliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha  
DNFViacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha  
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha  
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFElia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFAndrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFDavide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFAlessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFEloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFBert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFJonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFMichael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFWesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFWouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFRoy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFBenjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJames Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFKevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFEliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFStijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFJarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFGert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFReto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFDominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMorgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  

 

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