Kwiatkowski wins E3 Harelbeke over Sagan

Stannard third in banner day for Team Sky

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) denied Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) his first win in the rainbow jersey at the E3 Harelbeke on Friday by out-sprinting the world champion after the duo escaped a select lead group of favourites with 30km remaining.

With Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) chasing furiously behind, Kwiatkowski powered away from Sagan in the final 200 metres to take the victory. Ian Stannard rounded out the podium with third place for Team Sky.

Cancellara was slowed by a mechanical but made his way back to the lead group of about 13 riders with just over 30km to go after a lengthy chase. Moments after he regained contact, the winning move came with Kwiatkowski first to accelerate on the Karnemelkbeekstraat. Sagan made it up to the Team Sky rider with Matteo Trentin furiously chasing in order to make sure Etixx-Quickstep were represented. However the Italian wilted, allowing the last two world champions to establish a lead that peaked at just under 40 seconds.

Etixx-QuickStep, who had numbers throughout the race, set upon chasing the leaders but their efforts proved in vain. A late charge from Tom Boonen almost saw the leading pair caught in the closing kilometre but as Sagan led the duo toward the line, Kwiatkowski launched his attack and quickly opened an insurmountable gap.

Sagan, weary from his earlier efforts in the break, simply had no answer and barely lifted himself out of the saddle as the Pole made sure of his escape.

“I did my best, I was perfectly protected by my teammates," Kwiatkowski said at the finish. "Ian Stannard was in the front and we could play very well. Actually, we worked well with Peter - as we did three years ago in Strade Bianche. Honestly, I knew I had really good legs today. I had to go for the win - there was no other option.

“I know how Peter feels, to have the world champion's jersey, it's very difficult. But we both did a very good race.”

For Sagan the wait for his first win in the rainbow jersey continues with half a dozen second places already amassed this season. Up until the sprint the Slovak had ridden the perfect race, and even when he became isolated from his team, he remained calm, picking his moment to attack with the same precision that had seem him win the World title. However, when it came to the sprint the Tinkoff leader had nothing left.

“We were working together, but in the finish I was - yeah - I had no more energy. He was better," Sagan said of Kwiatkowski. When asked if it was that simple, he replied, "Cycling is simple, I think. At the end of a race like this it's all different. I did the attack and then I worked a lot. The last two kilometres in the radio they said 'you have to pull, you have to pull, everybody is coming'. I pulled a lot, and for the final I was without legs."

How it unfolded

The morning news surrounded Greg Van Avermaet’s decision not to start the race after the Belgian came down with a stomach bug. The rest of the peloton, however, headed out from Harelbeke with the breakaway forming around Antoine Demoitie (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Wouter Wippert (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Bert De Backer (Team Giant-Alpecin), Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale), Sjoerd van Ginneken (Roompot - Oranje Peloton), Tony Hurel (Direct Energie) and Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling).

Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data) bridged up solo much later and the eight leaders collected a maximum lead of 6 minutes but Trek-Segafredo team took the initiative for their leader Fabian Cancellara. When approaching the first bergs the gap quickly dropped, especially in the sprint towards the seventh climb of the day, the always-important Taaienberg at 74 kilometres from the finish in Harelbeke.

Cancellara’s resurrection

On the Taaienberg Roelandts’ acceleration created an elite group of 10 riders with Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), Boonen, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Nikki Terpstra for Etixx-QuickStep, Cancellara, Daniel Oss (BMC), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Lars Boom (Astana). At the foot of the following Boigneberg a cranky rear derailleur halted Cancellara.

The Swiss rider tossed his bike to the side of the road and waited more than a minute with folded arms for a new machine. It looked as though his race was over.

As the race continued towards climb 12, the steep cobbled Paterberg, the situation kept changing. Stybar punctured from the front as about twenty riders came together. Half a minute further back Trek-Segafredo and Katusha (for Kristoff) combined forces in the peloton to try and get back to the lead group where Tony Martin worked hard for Etixx-QuickStep.

Cancellara and Stybar surged away from the peloton on the tough combination of the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont. In front Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Ian Stannard (Sky), Boonen, Trentin, Terpstra, Boom, Oss, Vanmarcke and Benoot pushed on. Five kilometres after cresting the long Oude Kwaremont climb Cancellara and Stybar bridged up to the leaders with Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) and Dries Devenyns (IAM).

Winning move on the Karnemelkbeekstraat

At 30 kilometres from the finish Kwiatkowski and Sagan accelerated away on the penultimate climb of the day, the Karnemelkbeekstraat. The duo built up a lead of nearly forty seconds on the 13 chasers at 15 kilometres from the finish, with no obstacles left to cover.

Etixx, despite their numerical advantage, were unable to bring the pair back and despite a last-ditch effort from Boonen and Cancellara, the team Sky – Tinkoff tandem had just enough room to manoeuvre as they raced under the 1000m to go banner. Sagan brought them to the barriers in an attempt to force Kwiatkowski’s hand but even the predictability of a telegraphed attack could not save the world champion, who was powerless to respond.

“After 30, 40km, going both together, I knew I had to go for a long sprint, because Peter seems to have this kick, this punch, bigger than me,” the winner said.

“I tried to go more than 300m before the finish and that worked out. I didn't look back, I just went full gas to the finish.”

“I've done a few times Tour of Flanders and never did very well. I feel really good in Team Sky, being one of the leaders for the cobbled Classics is an amazing feeling, to be so protected, and to finish like that even after not doing any Classics before. It's more than I dreamed about.”

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Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky4:49:34 
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team0:00:04 
3Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky0:00:11 
4Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
5Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
6Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
7Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
8Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
9Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
10Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
11Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
12Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
13Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:15 
14Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
15Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:02:32 
16Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling0:04:48 
17Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
18Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team  
19Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
20Ralf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
21Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
22Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
23Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
24Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
25Antoine Duchesne (Can) Direct Energie  
26Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
27Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
28Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
29Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
30Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
31Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
32Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
33Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie  
34Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
35Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18  
36Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team  
37Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
38Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
39Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
40Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
41Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team0:04:52 
42Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:06:18 
43Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:06:54 
44Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
45Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team  
46Vegard Breen (Nor) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
47Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
48Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha  
49Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
50Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
51Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team  
52Michael Morkov (Den) Team Katusha  
53Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
54Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
55Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
56Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
57Marko Kump (Slo) Lampre - Merida  
58Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
59Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
60Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
61Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
62Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
63Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff Team  
64Michael Gogl (Aut) Tinkoff Team  
65Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team0:08:59 
66Wesley Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
67Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
68Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
69Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
70Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
71Juraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
72Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
73Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:11:35 
74Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
75Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
76Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct Energie  
77Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff Team  
78Adam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team  
79Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
80Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
81Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
82Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
83Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data  
84Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
85Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
86Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
87Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
88Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
89Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
90Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie  
91Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM Cycling  
92Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha  
93Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Giant-Alpecin  
94Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
95Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
96Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
97Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
98Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
99Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
100Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
101Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
102Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
103Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
104Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
105Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
106Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data  
DNFMagnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFRoberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAntonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFMark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFVladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFSergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFCarlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFViacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFXu Gang (Tpe) Lampre - Merida  
DNFFederico Zurlo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre - Merida  
DNFJorge Arcas Pena (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFIvar Slik (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFFrederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFBoris Vallee (Bel) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ  
DNFYauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFDaniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFFranck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFKai Reus (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFTim Kerkhof (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFHugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFArman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFBrian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFNico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMatteo Draperi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFGiuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFLiam Bertazzo (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFMirko Trosino (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFShane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRyan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFManuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFWouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFLukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFRobin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFDimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFYaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFChun Kai Feng (Tpe) Lampre - Merida  
DNFTony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DNFVicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling  
DNFSondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling  
DNFAndrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFTwan Castelijns (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFLeigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling  
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMarkel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMarco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMoreno De Pauw (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Team  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFJef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ  
DNFElia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) Dimension Data  
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFSean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNSGreg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  


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