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Sagan victorious in E3 Harelbeke

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Cycling News

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) Team Result
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 4:56:31  
2 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky    
4 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:16  
6 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol    
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19  
8 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp    
9 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing    
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
11 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
12 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
13 Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha    
14 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
15 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano    
16 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
17 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky    
18 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka    
19 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
20 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:21  
21 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:28  
22 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:14  
23 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
24 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
25 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano    
26 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol    
27 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
28 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
29 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling    
30 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
31 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr    
32 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team    
33 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar    
34 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
35 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha    
36 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
37 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
38 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge    
39 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
40 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
41 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
42 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
43 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
44 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
45 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale    
46 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli    
47 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team    
48 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky    
49 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale    
50 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing    
51 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team    
52 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
53 Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
54 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky    
55 Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing    
56 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
57 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
58 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
59 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin Sharp    
60 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
61 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
62 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo    
63 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
64 Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
65 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
66 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo    
67 Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
68 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar    
69 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team 0:05:08  
70 Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
71 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge    
72 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo    
73 Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
74 Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team Katusha    
75 Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
76 Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
77 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
78 Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
79 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
80 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
81 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling    
82 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling    
83 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr    
84 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr    
85 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
86 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale    
87 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team    
88 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky 0:07:33  
89 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha    
90 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin Sharp    
91 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Team Katusha    
92 Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar    
93 Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
94 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
95 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
96 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr    
97 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
98 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr    
99 Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
100 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha    
101 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
102 Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka 0:09:31  
103 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
104 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing    
105 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
106 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale    
107 David Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp    
108 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
109 Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
110 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo    
111 Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team    
DNF David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr    
DNF Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team    
DNF Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica Greenedge    
DNF Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo    
DNF Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky    
DNF Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky    
DNF Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing    
DNF Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing    
DNF Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing    
DNF Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Sky    
DNF Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha    
DNF Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team Katusha    
DNF Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
DNF Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano    
DNF Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
DNF Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar    
DNF Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Edward King (USA) Cannondale    
DNF Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Laurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ.fr    
DNF Songezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale    
DNF Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling    
DNF Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr    
DNF Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale    
DNF Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo    
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Martijn Maaskant (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
DNF John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise    
DNF Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Patrick Facchini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
DNF Carlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Nicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Andrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka    
DNF Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert    
DNF Luca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
DNF Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin Sharp    
DNF Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling    
DNF Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling    
DNF Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling    
DNF Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNS Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise