Sagan victorious in E3 Harelbeke

Cannondale man out-smarts Omega Pharma-Quickstep

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) dominated a highly tactical finale in the E3 Harelbeke, winning from a four-man group by out-sprinting Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) with an impressive turn of speed.

Sagan was up against the two-man Omega Pharma-Quickstep wrecking crew Stijn Vandenbergh and Terpstra, and Thomas, but marked them carefully and then dominated the sprint after earlier splitting the decisive attack. The quartet worked together until 3km to race, then the games began. Vandenbergh tried twice to attack, but Thomas and Sagan took turns bringing him back. The lanky Belgian dove for the 1km to go banner, but Sagan was quick to react. Vandenbergh tried again to surprise the others at a median with 500m to go, but it was not enough to dislodge Sagan, who then won the sprint handily.

Sagan shared his victory with his Cannondale teammates.

"I want to thank the team today, especially my teammate who has the same size bike as me and with swapped bikes with me after about 100km," he said after the podium ceremony.

"I didn’t think the race would go well but I felt better and better. The finale was tough and there was a lot of crashes. On the Oude Kwaremont when we caught the break, I attacked to create a small group and we managed to go all the way to the finish."

"It's good for me to win, it has helped me bounce back after Milan-San Remo."

Thomas said that third was the best he could do in such a tactical finale, especially after having been caught up in a crash and riding the end of the race with his bars askew.

"I think I rode it as best I could," Thomas said. "Going up the Kwaremont I thought I’d just get stuck in, attack and see what happens. Obviously it forced that group away but heading into the final with two Quick-Steps and Sagan it was pretty tough. I just felt I didn’t have the punch that Sagan and Terpstra had, so I thought I’d just gamble it all in the finish. You never know if you don’t see what happens.

"When Vandenbergh went I wanted to be first to go after him and hopefully get a bit of a run to hold off a couple of the others. Unfortunately Terpstra got round me on the line but I gave it everything. That’s all I had and I’m pretty happy with that."

How the race unfolded

Spring sunshine and a huge amount of spectators welcomed the riders in Harelbeke for the 57th edition of the E3 Harelbeke.

Before the start last year's winner Fabian Cancellara received his weight in bottles of Languedoc-wine Château Castigno. The Swiss rider can add those 75 bottles to the 75 he received two years ago. On the sign-on podium Cancellara gave Tom Boonen a moving hug, expressing his compassion for the miscarriage Boonen's partner suffered last week. Two hundred riders left sunny Harelbeke for 212 kilometres through the Flemish Ardennes.

After a fast first hour an early breakaway group included Maxime Daniel (AG2R La Mondiale), Jérôme Cousin (Europcar), Florian Sénéchal (Cofidis), Jay Thomason (MTN Qhubeka) and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty - Groupe Robert).

The cooperation in the group was good and they gained a maximum lead of seven minutes. Once the race approached the hills the gap started coming down as the speed in the peloton increased.

A first major crash in the middle of the peloton took down many riders including Svein Tuft (Orica - GreenEdge) who abandoned the race. In a second crash on the cobbles of the Varent just ahead of the Boigneberg it was Ian Stannard (Sky) who rode into a rider who stood in the middle of the road.

Whereas the race often blew apart on the Taaienberg the tweaked course resulted in a cease-fire of more than thirty kilometres. A regrouped peloton steamed over the unselective ascents of the Knokteberg, Hotondberg, Rotelenberg and Kortekeer. The most spectacular feats were the bike changes for Peter Sagan, a double flat tyre for Sep Vanmarcke, the quiet exit of Thor Hushovd at the Hotondberg and a high-speed crash at the back of the peloton at km 45 where Michel Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) took out three Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise riders.

When approaching the Kapelberg, prelude for the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont, the five leaders still had nearly 1:30 on the peloton when another big crash in the peloton kicked off the finale. A completely scattered peloton reached the Kapelberg and top favourite Fabian Cancellara was distanced.

The ascent of the steep Paterberg and then the longer Oude Kwaremont blew the race apart. Sep Vanmarcke led on the Paterberg while Geraint Thomas took the race in hand on the Oude Kwaremont. Behind Cancellara kept moving up, this time with Stijn Devolder in support. When coming off the cobbles of the Oude Kwaremont and heading to the newly featuring Karnemelkbeekstraat there were eight leaders and fourteen chasers at about 15 seconds.

On the Karnemelkbeekstraat Sagan swiftly accelerated on a small gear and only Thomas, Terpstra and Vandenbergh were able to hold his wheel. At twenty kilometres from the finish the four leaders had a gap of 25 seconds on eighteen chasers, among those Cancellara, Devolder, Boonen, Degenkolb, Devenyns, Stybar, Bozic, Roelandts, Boasson Hagen, Bozic, Konvalovas, Vanmarcke and early attackers Cousin and De Vreese.

At the cobbles of the Varentstraat the gap grew up to 45 seconds and at the Tiegemberg the gap was nearly a minute. On top of the climb Cancellara attacked in the chase group with only Paolini, Vanmarcke and Boonen being able to hold his wheel. Boasson Hagen led the chase in the descent and brought most riders back to the Swissman except De Vreese, Cousin, Konovalovas and Devolder. With 10km to go the four leaders had a lead of 35s on the first chase group but then Terpstra started skipping pulls.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale4:56:31 
2Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
3Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
4Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
5Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:01:16 
6Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol  
7Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team0:01:19 
8Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp  
9Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
10Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
11Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
12Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
13Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha  
14Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
15John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
16Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
17Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky  
18Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka  
19Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
20Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:01:21 
21Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:28 
22Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:14 
23Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
24Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
25Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano  
26Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol  
27Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
28Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
29Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling  
30Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
31Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr  
32Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
33Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
34Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
35Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
36Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
37Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
38Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge  
39Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
40Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
41Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
42Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
43Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
44Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
45Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale  
46Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli  
47Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
48Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
49Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale  
50Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing  
51Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team  
52Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
53Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
54Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky  
55Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
56Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
57Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
58Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
59Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin Sharp  
60Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
61Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
62Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo  
63Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
64Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
65Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
66Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
67Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
68Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
69Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:05:08 
70Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
71Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
72Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
73Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
74Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team Katusha  
75Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
76Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
77Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
78Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
79Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
80Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
81Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
82Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
83Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr  
84Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr  
85Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
86Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale  
87Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
88Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:07:33 
89Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha  
90Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin Sharp  
91Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Team Katusha  
92Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar  
93Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
94Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
95Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
96Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr  
97Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
98William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr  
99Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
100Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha  
101Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
102Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka0:09:31 
103Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
104Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
105Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
106Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale  
107David Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp  
108Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
109Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
110Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
111Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge  
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica Greenedge  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFAndrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica Greenedge  
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
DNFJetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
DNFMartin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr  
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFIan Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFHayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFJasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFGabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Sky  
DNFMorgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
DNFVegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol  
DNFAliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team Katusha  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFRick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFBjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
DNFLars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
DNFHugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFThor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
DNFEdward King (USA) Cannondale  
DNFMarco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFLaurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ.fr  
DNFSongezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFKristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale  
DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling  
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr  
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale  
DNFEdward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMichal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFKen Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFAldo Ino Ilesic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFLuke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFMartijn Maaskant (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFElia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFPatrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFCarlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFMaximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida  
DNFNicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFKenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAndrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFEdwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFGerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFMirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFLuca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFLouis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFGert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFNiccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFRaymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
DNFLasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin Sharp  
DNFSébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
DNFRoger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
DNFDominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling  
DNFAndrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNSJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  

 

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