Stybar wins E3 BinckBank Classic

Deceuninck-Quickstep continue winning streak as Stybar tops Van Aert, Van Avermaet

Zdenek Stybar gave Deceuninck-QuickStep yet another prestigious one-day victory at the E3 BinckBank Classic in Harelbeke, with the Belgian team's strength in depth again proving decisive.

Teammate Bob Jungles went on the attack in the final 60km of the race, sweeping up and past the break of the day. When a very select group of chasers caught him with seven kilometres to go, it was up to Stybar to take over.

He tried an attack with 3.5km to go but was chased down by Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Greg van Avermaet (CCC Team). But after sitting on the wheels for the final 50km, Stybar was still strong for the sprint and had the speed to go past Van Avermaet, who lead it out.

Van Aert finished second, impressing again in his first full season at WorldTour level, with Van Avermaet third and Bettiol fourth. Jungels finished fifth and understandably joined in the victory celebrations as Stybar crossed the line ahead of him.

Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) brought home a chase group, close to a minute behind. Surprisingly Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was not there after suffering in the final 20km with a gear problem and perhaps fatigue.

It was Deceuninck-QuickStep's 20th victory of the 2019 season and their seventh major one-day victory, coming after success at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – also won by Stybar, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche and last Saturday's Milano-San Remo.

The E3 BinckBank Classic is always an indicator of form for next weekend's Tour of Flanders and Stybar was not afraid to say he is ready for the Ronde.

"It's a pleasure for me to be there, with such good shape. Now I'm really looking forward to the Tour of Flanders," he said briefly before the podium ceremony.

How it happened

The riders signed on under an unusually warm Belgian sun and bright blue skies in Harelbeke. Many were happy about the spring weather but some of the big-name Belgian contenders made it clear they would have preferred more testing and selective conditions for 204km race on the kasseien (cobblestones) and hellingen (short, steep climbs).

After a few brief attacks and more organised chasing, seven riders went away after 30km to create the early break of the day. In there were Jaime Castrillo (Movistar), Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb), Lionel Taminiaux (Wallonie Bruxelles), Stijn Steels (Roompot-Charles), Ludwig De Winter (Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team), Mihkel Räim (Israel Cycling Academy), Aksel Nommela (Wallonie Bruxelles) and Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).

They opened a lead of 2:30 after just 20km as the peloton eased up to save their legs for later. On the La Houppe climb after the first feed and 85km, the break led the peloton by 5:00. However as the climbs began to loom large, the Deceuninck-QuickStep finally blinked in the battle of nerves with their rivals and began to chase the attack.

The speed rose dramatically every time the peloton approached a climb or section of pave. The riders were itching to go on the attack. However crashes were always around the corner and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) went into the ditch and struggled to get going again. His race was over with questions about his full spring campaign.

The Taaienberg, with 80km to go, is always a key point of the race and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) seemed inspired by Tom Boonen's legendary surges here and led the peloton over the top of the narrow, cobbled lane. Sagan was there but did not look strong; fortunately, Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Daniel Oss closed down Van Aert to keep the front group together.

Ian Stannard played Team Sky's first card on the flat roads after the Taaienberg but with little wind, the rest of the peloton were able to follow him after an increase in speed. Later the big British rider flatted and took a wheel from a teammate. Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) also needed a bike change, reminding everyone how a race can end in a split second.

With 63km to go, on the Boigneberg, Deceuninck-QuickStep started their roll out their strategy, with Zdenek Stybar attacking first to make a selection. The break was just 50 second ahead.

It was a perfect scenario for Jungels to try his hand when Stybar was brought to heel, and he jumped away just before the Kepelberg. His rivals foolishly let him hang off the front alone and so he switched to time trial mode and powered across to the break.

Other tried to go after him, with Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) eventually going across after a huge effort. With 50km left and some legendary final climbs to race, Jungels and the other adventurers led by 45 seconds. Deceuninck-QuickStep had taken charge of the race yet again, forcing their rivals to lead the chase and do the work.

On the Paterberg Jungles dropped everyone in the break. They got back to him but the same thing happened on the Oude Kwaremont. When they reformed again, 20-year-old Hirschi was ordered not to work but he was remarkably strong.

Behind, Van Avermaet set a selective pace on the Paterberg and then the Oude Kwaremont, sparking a natural selection in the front group. It was a quality group but Jungels was still 45 seconds clear.

Bettiol tried to attack over the top of the Oude Kwaremont but he was soon pulled back as the big-name riders watched each other. Jungels finally went solo on the Karnemelkbeekstraat asphalt climb, cracking the riders who tried to hang onto his wheel. He made himself aero over his bars and began a solo ride to the finish.

But behind they refused to give up hope, with van Avermaet often inspiring the chase. The gap slowly faded to below 30 seconds as a chase group desperately tried to join Van Aert, Sagan, Stybar, Naesen, Van Avermaet, Bettiol, Trentin and Keukeleire. Everyone was at their limit after a fast, aggressive race.

The final section of cobbles and the short Tiegemberg climb hurt Jungels and boosted the chances of the chasers with 20km to go. It also ended Sagan's chances. He seemed to crack but also dropped back to his team car for some work on his rear derailleur. Whatever the problem, his chances of victory were over.

Only Van Avermaet, Stybar, Bettiol and Van Aert remained up front after another van Avermaet surge. They set off after Jungels like a team pursuit quartet, with Stybar logically sitting on and collecting the tickets at the back of the line. Thanks to Jungels attack, Stybar had been able to sit in the wheels for the final 50km. It was clearly his race to lose.

The catch came with seven kilometres to go on the wide road back to Harelbeke. The finale of the finale began. The Trentin chase group was close to a minute behind, with Sagan's group even further back.

Jungels generously gave his all even after being caught, keeping the pace high to dissuade any attack and protect Stybar's chances. The Czech rider tried to repeat his late Omloop Het Nieuwsblad attack but was chased down by Bettiol and the other others. Jungels then tried one last time forcing Van Avermaet to close the gap, but everyone was thinking of the sprint and wonder just how fresh and strong Stybar would be.

Jungels led to the finishing straight and then Stybar showed he clearly was the strongest by jumping after Van Avermaet and then by surging past him to win.

Yet again, it was Deceuninck-QuickStep's day; it was a cycling Classic Groundhog Day.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep4:46:05 
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma  
3Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team  
4Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First  
5Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:00:03 
6Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:04 
7Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
8Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
9Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
10Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb  
11Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:33 
12Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First  
13Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
14Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
15Niki Terpstra (Ned) Direct Energie0:01:37 
16Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:42 
17Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
18Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:45 
19Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:49 
20Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
21Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
22John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo  
23Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
24Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
25Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
26Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team  
27Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
28Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy  
29Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
30Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin  
31Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
32Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
33Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
34Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
35Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
36Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
37Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
38Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
39Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data  
40Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe  
41Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar Team  
42Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
43Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Wallonie Bruxelles  
44Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
45Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma  
46Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie  
47Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
48Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
49Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
50Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott  
51Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
52Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team  
53Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team  
54Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
55Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) CCC Team  
56Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ  
57Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott  
58Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
59Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida  
60Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
61Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
62Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
63Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:02:59 
64Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:03:46 
65Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
66Stijn Steels (Bel) Roompot-Charles  
67Conor Dunne (Irl) Israel Cycling Academy  
68Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
69Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team  
70Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
71Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
72Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
73Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
74Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team  
75Aksel Nõmmela (Est) Wallonie Bruxelles  
76Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
77Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma0:03:48 
78Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe  
79Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
80Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:10:39 
81Jaime Castrillo (Spa) Movistar Team  
82Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
83Pim Ligthart (Ned) Direct Energie  
84Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Wallonie Bruxelles  
85Zico Waeytens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
86Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma  
87Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ  
88Senne Leysen (Bel) Roompot-Charles  
89Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb  
90Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
91Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Sky  
92Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert  
93Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
94Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
95Ludwig De Winter (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
96Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Dimension Data  
97Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
98Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First  
99Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFFlorian Stork (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFBrian van Goethem (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
DNFJasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFBert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFSjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar Team  
DNFAsbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFJan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFFilippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFHector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFAlex Frame (NZl) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFEdoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFBagdonas Gediminas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFSondre Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFNico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team  
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team  
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team  
DNFJustin Timmermans (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFEdvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
DNFJustin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFJay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFJaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFEmiel Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFLogan Owen (USA) EF Education First  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFRobbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFWillem Jakobus Smit (RSA) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFLindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFMads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFChad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb  
DNFJerome Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFJan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFPiet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFZhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First  
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert  
DNFChristopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFOwain Doull (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFLeonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFLukas Spengler (Swi) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First  
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education First  
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  

Related Articles

Back to top