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Naesen exceeds expectations with E3 Harelbeke podium finish

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Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Philippe Gilbert, Greg Van Avemaet and Oliver Naesen on the E3 Harelbeke podium

Philippe Gilbert, Greg Van Avemaet and Oliver Naesen on the E3 Harelbeke podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) bridges back to Gilbert and Van Avermaet

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) bridges back to Gilbert and Van Avermaet
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) with Gilbert and Van Avermaet

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) with Gilbert and Van Avermaet
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

At the end of last year, Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) joked that if he wound up in a three-man move with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and someone else, then that someone else would not be winning the race.

It was more a light-hearted illustration of his friendship with the Olympic champion, with whom he regularly trains, than arrogant bravado. Naesen was nevertheless proved right at E3-Harelbeke, where that very situation came to pass and Philippe Gilbert was left sandwiched in between the two.