2016 E3 Harelbeke overview
E3 Harelbeke, named after the former E3 motorway and the race’s start and finish town, is one of the younger Belgian Classics but it now plays a big role in many riders’ Classics campaigns. Sandwiched between Dwars door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem, there are plenty of the big names on show.
The 2016 edition of the race will be its 59th and completes a 206km loop out and back from Harelbeke. It is sometimes known as a mini Tour of Flanders, with some of its 15 climbs also featuring in De Ronde just over a week later. The Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Taaienberg all feature in the race.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) won the 2015 after getting into a breakaway with Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). He would eventually drop the other two, going it alone in the final four kilometres. Enjoying much less fortune was Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who crashed heavily in the early part of the race and fractured to vertebrae.
Thomas will not be back to defend his title as he races a lighter Classics programme this season. Cancellara will be back and hoping for some much better luck, Sagan and Stybar are also expected to be back in action. For Team Sky it is Ian Stannard that holds their hopes, while Alexander Kristoff is to lead the Katusha squad. Others expected to ride are Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), and Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep).
2015 E3 Harelbeke results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||5:15:00|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:00:25|
|3||Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:00:38|
|4||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha|
|5||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo|
|6||Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|7||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|8||Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team|
|9||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge|
|10||Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team|