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Live coverage

E3 Harelbeke 2016

Live coverage will commence at 11:45 CET.

 Hello and welcome to our live coverage from E3 Harelbeke. After Dwars door Vlaanderen, we're in Belgium once more for another instalment of cobbles and bergs.  

The official roll out isn't for another 25 minutes but riders have already braved the brisk spring air and ventured onto the podium for this morning's sign-on. Trek were one of the latest teams to sign in. 

 

On the eve of the race Cyclingnews sat down with Jasper Stuyven to talk about his Classics season and team leader Fabian Cancellara. You can read the interview here.

 

The official roll out isn't for another 25 minutes but riders have already braved the brisk spring air and ventured onto the podium for this morning's sign-on. Trek were one of the latest teams to sign in. 

 

On the eve of the race Cyclingnews sat down with Jasper Stuyven to talk about his Classics season and team leader Fabian Cancellara. You can read the interview here.

 

 Conditions today - typical Belgian weather for this time of year. It was raining earlier this morning but that's held off, while it's cold grey and with some wind too. 

The biggest news from the start line this morning is that one of the race favourites is out. Greg Van Avermaet, who has enjoyed a successful start to the season came down with a stomach illness and misses today. It seems he's fine but with Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders on the horizon, this is very much a precaution. You can read the full story here.

 

There's certainly a few bugs going around. Ian Boswell pulled out of the Volta a Catalunya yesterday because he was a little under the weather. He'll head home for some much needed rest, while news has come in that Geraint Thomas has pulled out of the same race. We don't know the exact circumstances on that but more as we get it.

 

#RBE3H is just minutes away! https://t.co/PVk8Sn6uff

@Etixx_QuickStep Fri, 25th Mar 2016 10:55:44

Just under 20 minutes until the peloton roll out from the town centre, so plenty of time for you to watch our video on the ten riders to watch during E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. The video is just here.

 

 

 

And don't forget that our most recent podcast is just here too. It features Sean Kelly, with the former rider trying to decide who is the best rider of this generation, Boonen or Cancellara. You can listen to the podcast right here.


Who would you pick, Boonen or Cancellara? Let me know via Twitter, here.
 

 

Jürgen Roelandts is talking to the media just after signing on. The Belgian rider finished on the podium in Milan-San Remo and is clearly in form. I may be wrong but that was his second podium finish in a Spring monument and Lotto come into this cluster of races full of confidence after their win earlier in the week in Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

 

The riders have gathered on the start line and the roll out is just moments away.

 

Tom Boonen, who always receives the biggest cheers here, is near the front at the moment and as ever he's in a relaxed mood on the start line. Today will give a strong indication of where Boonen is in terms of form and fitness. 

 

There was a minute's silence before the riders rolled out this morning. Cycling paying respects after the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

 

#RBE3H is now underway, the riders have just rolled out from the start line and ease towards km zero

Over in Spain the riders are signing on for the Volta a Catalunya. We have highlights from yesterday's exciting Contador-Quintana battle, right here

 

 

FDJ’s riders are wearing a Belgian flag on their sleeves at E3 Harelbeke as a mark of respect to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday.

“It’s a symbol of solidarity,” Arnaud Démare said after signing on. “I think it’s good to do these races at this time, to show that we’re not afraid and to bring some pleasure to the people here.”

Démare’s principal target over the Easter weekend will surely be Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, where he placed second in 2014, but he said that he was not lacking in motivation for E3 Harelbeke, where he lines up for the first time in his career.

“I haven’t slacked off after Milan-San Remo. This is my first participation at Harelbeke and I’m looking forward to having a go. Winning a race like Milan-San Remo is something you never forget, of course, and it’s a big motivation going forward too."

 

The earlier photo was of the Team Sky Pinarello bikes. The British team animated Milan-San Remo with a couple of strong attacks and Ben Swift finishing second. They come into this race with a decent line-up and a few more cards to play. 

CN's Barry Ryan spoke to two of their cards on the start line:
 

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky):

I’m happy to be here, to race on the cobbles again. At Team Sky I have a bit more space to show myself on the cobbles that I did before, so I’m looking to do something here in Harelbeke and at the Tour of Flanders next week.

Luke Rowe (Sky):

I think we’ll duck and dive a bit today. We’ve got a strong team but we don’t have one of the big favourites, a guy who’s won Flanders or Roubaix in the past, so it’s not going to be up to us to control the race. I expect QuickStep will be very strong.

 

@dnlbenson Boonen... the sentimental favorite having been a fan since 02 in spite of Cancellara's likeability

@tarheelgis Fri, 25th Mar 2016 11:38:45

 

Who is the Classics rider of this generation? Let us know what you think...

The race has now officially started and we've already seen a few probing attacks but after 8km the race is still together. 

 

A reminder of last year's top ten:

 

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

 

Sporza have put together a neat list of all the climbs on the route today. From last year two climbs have been taken out but they organisers have shaved off a few kms in order to make the finale tougher. We'll see how that pans out over the next few hours.

 

177 km Katteberg 600m 6,7%
114 km La Houppe 3.440m 10%
98 km Oude Kruisberg 800m 4,8%
90 km Knokteberg 1.530m 5,3%
86 km Hotondberg 1.200m 4%
79 km Kortekeer 1.000m 6,4%
74 km Taaienberg 650m 9,5%
68 km Boigneberg 2.180m 5,8%
63 km Eikenberg 1.200m 5,5%
58 km Stationberg 460m 3,2%
46 km Kapelberg 900m 4%
42 km Paterberg 700m 12%
37 km Oude Kwaremont 2.200m 4,2%
31 km Karnemelkbeekstraat 1.530m 4,9%
20 km Tiegemberg 1.000m 6,5%

 

 This was the scene at the start line this morning.

Some news in that we're hearing: Mark Cavendish will not race Gent-Wevelgem, de Panne or the Tour of Flanders. Apparently the former road world champion will take a period of rest after his busy start to the season. 

 

173km remaining from 206km

Just under 175km to go and still no break from the peloton, with every move quickly neutralized. 

 

Peter Sagan is riding near the front. The world champion is still looking for his first win of the 2016 season and today is a race that will be marked on his card. He's backed by a very robust Tinkoff team:


1 Peter Sagan (Svk)
2 Juraj Sagan (Svk)
3 Jay McCarthy (Aus)
4 Maciej Bodnar (Pol)
5 Oscar Gatto (Ita)
6 Michael Gogl (Aut)
7 Adam Blythe (GBr)
8 Nikolay Trusov (Rus)

 

We have a break. It's just two riders and they have less than ten seconds but it's something. 168km to go.

 

Van Melsen was one of the riders in the break but they didn't have enough rope from the bunch and the race is once again back together. 

 

We mentioned the strength of Tinkoff but what about Etixx QuickStep? It's not impossible to imagine any one of those riders winning a race like E3, such is the depth to the squad.

11 Tom Boonen (Bel)
12 Iljo Keisse (Bel)
13 Tony Martin (Ger)
14 Zdeněk Štybar (Cze)
15 Niki Terpstra (Ned)
16 Matteo Trentin (Ita)
17 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel)
18 Łukasz Wiśniowski (Pol)

 

Zdenek Stybar is one of many contenders within the Etixx-QuickStep team today. He’s had a week off after racing at Milan-San Remo last Saturday and he’s ready to get back into the mix.

“I think I’m pretty ok. Let’s race again. After San Remo, I had some ‘still’ days let’s say but I should be ready again,” he told Cyclingnews at the start. “We are not going to compete inside the team, we are just going to try to do our best to be there in the final and try to win the race. It doesn’t matter with who.”

There have been some small changes to the route with a more ‘intense’ finale planned for today, something Stybar is looking forwards to. “I think the race will just open up faster,” he explained. “I think now it is should be a really nice race. Luckily it has stopped raining so it shouldn’t have an impact but I think we can expect something nice today.”

 

160km remaining from 206km

We have six riders now clear of the field and they've put 30 seconds into the peloton. The riders are Nico Denz, Floris Gert, Antoine Demoité, Tony Hurel Bert De Backer and Sjoerd van Ginneken

 

Three more riders are trying to make contact with the leading group with the bunch still at 30 seconds. 

 

At the start this morning last year's winner Geraint Thomas provided a video message. We spoke to his teammate Luke Rowe.

"[Geraint] messaged me last night to say good luck. We chat quite often and it’s nice to have a guy like that of such high calibre and a mate giving you a pat on the back like that. It was a nice little piece."

"For sure, we will try and do our best and try to win. Nothing changes here. I’ve definitely stepped up again. I think that the form is better than it was a couple of weeks ago. Today we’ve got Stannard and Kawasaki [Michal Kwaitkowski], as I keep calling him. I think they’ll be the favourites for Sky today.

"I’ve got my eye on Roubaix. I love that race, I did well last year and I’ll be all guns blazing for that and I’ll have a chance to race for myself in that one."


 

 

That second group on the road has split and it's hard to see them making contact with the leaders at this point. The bunch, still at 30 seconds.

 

All together in #VoltaCatalunya after 40 km.

@Etixx_QuickStep Fri, 25th Mar 2016 12:33:46

One less thing for the attackers to worry about as the peloton sit up and the break moves out to 4'15. The three riders behind are within touching distance and the break are likely to ease off for just a moment in order to strengthen their arsenal. 

 

BMC woke up to the news that their team leader Greg Van Avermaet would not be racing today after he developed stomach problems over night. Manuel Quinziato spoke to the press at the start, saying that the team were hoping to put on a good show for Van Avermaet.

“For us it’s a big hit but I think, in the end, he was hoping not to compromise the whole Classics season so I think that it’s good that he didn’t start today. It changes a lot for us. We want to show that we have a strong team and we have riders like Daniel Oss that can give a good result,” he said.

 

145km remaining from 206km

Contact has been made so we now have nine riders in one lead group and the peloton holding at 4:15.

 

It's Lotto Soudal who are currently on the front and setting the pace for the peloton. Their team today:

 

21 Jürgen Roelandts (Bel)
22 Sean De Bie (Bel)
23 Jasper De Buyst (Bel)
24 Frederik Frison (Bel)
25 Pim Ligthart (Ned)
26 Tiesj Benoot (Bel)
27 Marcel Sieberg (Ger)
28 Jelle Wallays (Bel)

 

The three chasers were Olivier Le Gac, Jasha Sutterlin and Jay Robert Thompson.

 

We have a full run-down of quotes from the startline this morning. You can find them just here

 

Here's what Kristoff had to say: “I expect a small group. I’ve never really performed here before, so we’ll see if I can follow on the climbs,” said Kristof. “I feel quite good but it’s hard to compare to last year.” From the numbers I’m the same as last year, but others can be better or worse.”

 

It's all over over for Olivier Le Gac, who has been caught by the peloton. Eight leaders still up the road with a gap of 5'32 with 132 km to go.

 

.@DanMartin86 and @albertocontador have taken the bonification in the intermediate sprint of Àger (68 km)

@VoltaCatalunya Fri, 25th Mar 2016 13:20:19

A reminder of the riders currently in the break:

Antoine Demoitie (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling), Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data), 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)

 

The leaders are about to hit La Houppe, one of the climbs on this draining 206km course. The gap to the peloton is still at a relatively healthy 5'30.

 

The break crest the top of the climb with the peloton not yet at the bottom. Lotto Soudal and Etixx leading the peloton.

 

The work at the front of the peloton is starting to pay dividends with the lead slipping to 4'33.

 

(82 km) Formolo (Cannondale) Cataldo (Astana), Verona (Etixx), De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Dupont (AG2R), Losada (Katusha), ... #voltacatalunya

@VoltaCatalunya Fri, 25th Mar 2016 13:39:34

The continued pressure from the peloton continues to pay off as they reduce the break's gap to 2'45. There's still an awful long way to go today - 106km but the pace is frantic.

 

And don't forget that our most recent podcast is just here too. It features Sean Kelly, with the former rider trying to decide who is the best rider of this generation, Boonen or Cancellara. You can listen to the podcast right here.

Who would you pick, Boonen or Cancellara? Let me know via Twitter, here.

 

We also have our video on the top 10 riders to watch in E3 and Gent-Wevelgem. Check it out.

 

Pozatto a former winner here  is back with the team car with a mechanical. He had a decent showing in San Remo as IAM lead the peloton along with Lotto-Soudal. The gap to the break is now at 2'49 with 95km to go.

 

Pozzato has another problem with his bike and this time takes a new rear wheel. He has a bit of work to do as he chases back. A couple of teammates would be ideal help.

 

Tinkoff are starting to mass at the front now with Peter Sagan positioning his troops. Tony Martin gives them a quick glance, just to acknowledge their presence, before going back to work and protecting last year's runner up, Stybar.

 

A teammate drops back to help Pozatto return to the peloton. He still has a bit of a gap to close.

 

Sam Bewley comes down in a fall. He is on his feet but that one looked sore. He stretches his back out and looks around for new bike. 

 

Katusha and Trek hit the front on the Knokteberg with 87km to go. The pace has eased somewhat as Etixx also help set the pace.

 

The bunch make it over the berg without too much fuss. It's now full gas as the road changes direction, and with it the wind too. Up ahead the break continue to go about their business with their advantage at 2'35.

 

@dnlbenson for classics rider, absolutely has to be Boonen. so many traditional classics wins. His style is that of classics riders of lore

@SweatandThreats Fri, 25th Mar 2016 13:52:01

@dnlbenson as an all around rider with great panache i can see the argument for @f_cancellara, but i don't think that's really the question

@SweatandThreats Fri, 25th Mar 2016 13:52:37

Onto the next climb, the Hotondberg, and it's Team Sky who dash to the front. Their whole line up are moving up to join Etixx QuickStep. Fenn waves his teammates on because he know how crucial positioning is for the lead into the next climb. 

 

81km remaining from 206km

They take the tricky left hand corner before the climb and Etixx push the pace up just to make it harder for Sky, Lotto and the rest to move up. The Belgian team know these roads better than anyone. 81km to go.

 

Wynants has a flat at just the wrong moment - just as Etixx put the hammer down. A teammate hands him a wheel and it's a quick change but Wynants has a long chase ahead of him.

 

The surge from Etixx sees the gap to the break drop down to 1'16 as the leaders hit the next climb, the Kortekeer. 17per cent pitches on this one. 

 

The boys are back in town! #RBE3H #WayToRide https://t.co/f6UsItTZ5i

@Etixx_QuickStep Fri, 25th Mar 2016 14:15:41

Viviani is held up on the climb and appears to have a problem with his gears. He's looking around for a team car but he will be waiting a little longer.

 

Onto the iconic Taaienberg and the break hug the gutter as they lurch up the 18 per cent slopes. 

 

73km remaining from 206km

The peloton are at 1'41 with 73km to go.

 

The peloton hit the climb and Boonen is second wheel with Jürgen Roelandts is the one setting the pace and doing the damage.  

 

There are a number of splits with Cancellara having to make up some ground. Oss is in the Boonen group. Terpstra is there and Cancellara appears to be moving up. Rowe is there for Sky and Sagan is there too. Etixx have three men, Boonen one of them. A lot of big hitters are there. Four for Etixx, sorry.

 

They've isolated Sagan and Cancellara and they - being Etixx push the pace with Terpstra on the front.

 

Lotto Soudal have two men in this move. Vanmarcke is there and I think that Boom too. Sky are leading the chase for the next group. 

 

Boonen has Trentin there too. Lotto have Benoot and Roelandts

 

Correction. Sagan is not in the Boonen group. The group contains:

Matteo Trentin, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo), Lars Boom (Astana), Jurgen Roelandts and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (BMC)

 

And it's Team Sky who are leading the chase with a group that contains Sagan. 

 

Roughly 15-20 seconds between the Etixx and Sky groups. 

 

Cancellara wisely sits at the back and sits out of trouble. He's not going to do a tap of work at the moment as Vanmarcke and Boom converse. It's all up to Etixx and Lotto Soudal to do the work as they have the numbers. 

 

And Cancellara has a problem with his bike. It's with his chain and rear mech. He's out of the group and tosses his bike to the side of the road. He picks it up straight away but he has to wait for assistance. 

 

A couple of locals gather around him but the Swiss rider folds his arms and stares out into the distance. Race over for the Trek leader. 

 

66km remaining from 206km

He takes another bike and he's in a group that's in the convoy. Up ahead Sagan and Team Sky have caught the Boonen group. 

 

Cancellara is on his own but going past riders in the convoy. 

 

Love the bloke sidling up to Cancellara as if he's about to ask for a bidon #RBE3H

@SadhbhOS Fri, 25th Mar 2016 14:38:36

The break has been caught and we have around 30 riders at the front of the race. Etixx have 6-7 riders in there. 

 

It's Sky who move up and lead the peloton, careful not to make another mistake and miss another split.

 

Onto the Eikenberg for the front of the race with 62km to go. It's Tony Martin setting the pace at the moment.

 

Cancellara hasn't given up yet. You know he's won this race from attacking from the back before. His ride here in 2011 remains one of the most impressive one-day performances from the last 10 years. 

 

Boonen is just sitting in second wheel, just off Martin at the moment as they head towards the next climb, the Stationberg.

 

This is a surprise... Stybar is slipping back and has been dropped. 

 

Cancellara has support from his team and he's still chasing the field at 1'15 down on the leaders. 

 

Tony Martin remains on the front and keeps the pace high. Puccio sits on his wheel as the rest of the Etixx team sit back. It's effectively Tony Martin versus three Trek Segafredo riders.

 

Trek do have a couple of riders in the lead group, it has to be said, including Kuurne winner Stuyven.

 

Behind @yaropopovych and @Markelirizar are leading a frantic chase for @f_cancellara. They are over 1'07" behind. 58kms to go. #RBE3H

@TrekSegafredo Fri, 25th Mar 2016 14:51:06

 

Cancellara pushes on alone and makes it to the back of the peloton. He still has 53 seconds to make up to the leaders.

 

Martin moves his arms over the bars and tucks his body into the most aero position possible as he drags the leaders onto a flat section of road. Cancellara and the main field are now 37 seconds back. The Trek rider is coming back...

 

Katusha and Trek are pulling the race back together. Fair to assume then that Kristoff has also missed the split. The gap is at 25 seconds. 

 

50km remaining from 206km

Etixx have responded by putting another rider on the front of the lead group. 26 seconds is the gap with 50km to go.

 

Three Etixx riders set the pace in a response to the charge from Trek. The gap is holding at 25 seconds with 46km to go.

 

It was a puncture for Stybar we are now hearing.

 

Stybar is just sitting on Cancellara's wheel but the Trek rider is running out of teammates. Will he make a move on his own? The gap is 33 seconds with 44km to go. Devolder versus Etixx at the moment and the former Flanders winner is up against it. 

 

The leading group is now on Paterberg (700 meters, 12%). #RBE3H

@Etixx_QuickStep Fri, 25th Mar 2016 15:12:50

And it's Kwiatkowski who sets the pace. Out of the saddle goes the former world champ as we hear that Devolder has cracked. Now it's all up to Cancellara. Can he close the gap? This is really helping Stuyven who can watch Etixx burn their matches and just stay safe. 

 

And Cancellara is slowly closing the gap but he has Stybar on his shoulder. One battle at a time I guess.

 

Boonen moves up and sets the pace on the descent. He will want to eliminate his old rival for good. Etixx are down to three men in the front group by the way so the race is starting to wear down the bunch. Sagan is on Stannard's wheel as both riders take a turn. 

 

Three climbs to come. The next one... the Kwaremont.

 

Trentin is a class rider, so underrated, as he marshals the lead group for Boonen. There are less than 15 riders in the lead group. 

 

Two Sky men, three from Etixx, Sagan, Vanmarcke and we're on the Kwaremont with Terpstra setting the pace. 

 

The leaders are :

 

Tom Boonen, Matteo Trentin, Stijn Vandenbergh, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep), Michal Kwiatkowski and Ian Stannard (Sky), Daniel Oss and Jempy Drucker (BMC), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo), Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Lars Boom (Astana), Jasper Stuyven (Trek) Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling)

 

Sagan has slipped back a it as Cancellara continues to push on with Stybar acting has his shadow. 

 

Kristoff has cracked and he's slipping back as we see Terpstra stretch the lead group almost to breaking point. 

 

And Sagan hits the front with a turn of speed that makes it look as though Terpstra is standing still. 36km to go. 

 

As back down the climb Cancellara picks off riders one by one.

 

Sagan is matched by Terpstra and Boom. Stannard pulls the move back together. Cancellara now has Stuyven with him and Cancellara is still trying to pull the race back together. 

 

34 seconds between the Sagan/Boonen group and Cancellara. 

 

17 seconds between these two groups:

Matteo Trentin, Niki Terpstra, Daniel Oss, Ian Stannard, Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski, Lars Boom, Tiesj Benoot, Tom Boonen, Sep Vanmarke

Fabian Cancellara and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Jempy Drucker (BMC), Zdenek Stybar (Etixx)

 

Cancellara is going to make it. Shades of 2011 all over again.

 

32km remaining from 206km

32km to go and Cancellara has made it back to the leaders. Has he got anything left in the tank?

 

Here are the riders in the lead:

Lars Boom (Astana), Daniel Oss and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team), Matteo Trentin, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx - Quick-Step), Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo), Ian Stannard and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Team), Jasper Stuyven and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo)

 

Sky take it up with 30km to go on the Karnemelkbeekstraat with Michał Kwiatkowski as Sagan goes too and the pair have a slight lead. Trentin goes after them as Cancellara sets a steady pace.

 

Stuyven has been dropped but he could still come back on the flat section.

 

The last two world champions have a gap and they're going to work together. 30km to go and Terpstra accelerates because Trentin has popped. 

 

The two leaders have about 5 seconds on the chase and it's up to Lotto Soudal and Etixx to chase this down. Sagan and Michał Kwiatkowski know each other so well from their juniour days and just a few words are exchanged before they put their heads down and push on.

 

Geraint Thomas juggling GC ambitions with Classics aims https://t.co/zl62CM7xAN https://t.co/hFigPN5Og9

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 25th Mar 2016 15:35:07

26km remaining from 206km

26km to go and the gap is at 14 seconds with just one climb to go. 

 

It's a two-up time trial as Boonen drifts back and tries to get the group to work. 

 

19 seconds now for the two leaders. BMC have two men in the chase group but they're not working yet. Terpstra just tries to limit the losses at the moment as the gap goes out to 25 seconds.

 

Cancellara and Vanmarcke pitch in with a few turns as Etixx struggle to get back on terms. The gap is 22 seconds with 20km to go. Normally you'd favour the chasers with such a slender time gap but this is Sagan and Michał Kwiatkowski.

 

19km remaining from 206km

Onto the final climb of the race, the Tiegemberg, with the gap at 31 seconds. It's the Team Sky rider who sets the pace first.

 

Stuyven who did come back has moved to the front but the gap continues to grow. It's at 37 seconds.

 

20km to go in the #E3harelbeke. Sagan and Kwiatkowski are in the lead, @sepvanmarcke is part of the chasing group.

@LottoJumbo_road Fri, 25th Mar 2016 15:44:10

Terpstra comes back to the front and lifts the pace once more. The gap is holding at 36 seconds with 16.km to go. 

 

Even Terpstra can't make any inroads into the gap. It's holding at 37 seconds. 

 

From Catalunya here are today's top tens. You can read our report, here.


1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 3:59:03
2 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:11
3 Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
4 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data
5 Carlos Verona (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:13
6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:33
7 Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
8 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre - Merida
10 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky

General classification after stage 5

1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 23:01:19
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:00:07
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:21
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:32
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:42
8 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:46
9 Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:01
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:16

 

12km remaining from 206km

Heading towards the final 10km and the gap is at 38 seconds. Cancellara has drifted to the back and Oss is marking him. Etixx still have two men on the front holding the gap at between 35-40 seconds.

 

10km remaining from 206km

Inside the final 10km of E3 Harelbeke as Terpstra and Stybar continue to lead the chase. The chase need to find something from somewhere because the race is going away from them.

 

The Etixx pair take a few seconds off the lead. It's down to 28 seconds with 7.6km to go.

 

5km remaining from 206km

5.5km to go and the leading pair still have 29 seconds on the chase. Sagan is taking a long pull on the front as Etixx give it one last surge. 

 

Stybar has pulled off, his job done. The gap is at 28 seconds with 4km to go. 

 

Kwiatkowski shakes his legs as he tries to find some freshness in his legs as the gap drops to 17 seconds. 3.7km to go.

 

This could come down to the wire because Boonen is leading the chase for Trentin. 19 seconds.

 

Boonen just took ten seconds off the lead pair in less than 500m. What more can he do?

 

3km remaining from 206km

3km left and the gap is at 19 seconds. Sagan takes a turn but looks back at the Sky rider. 

 

He calls Kwiatkowski through for a turn and he obliges but they're both looking around. 2.1km to go, the gap at 17 seconds.

 

Terpstra has pulled up, so it's all down to Boonen. 14 seconds now with 1.6km to go.

 

This helps Sagan because Kwiatkowski can't afford to mess around or skip a turn. 

 

11 seconds!

 

1km remaining from 206km

1km to go and the gap is just 10 seconds.

 

Sagan leads them into the sprint.

 

The world champion moves to the barriers. 

 

Michał Kwiatkowski goes for it.

 

Sagan can't respond. The world champion doesn't have the legs.

 

Michał Kwiatkowski wins E3 Harelbeke. Ian Stannard takes third.

 

Second year in a row and Sagan has been found wanting in the latter stages of this race. It's another second place for the Tinkoff rider too.

 

Last year it was Thomas, and this time it's Kwiatkowski. Sky march on. 

 

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
7 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
9 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team

 

A truly memorable edition of E3 Harelbeke today. Lets speak to the winner now:

I did my best, I was perfectly protected by my teammates, 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 have 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.
 

 

"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. 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."

 

Sagan has now talked to the press following yet another second place:

We were working together, but in the finish I was - yeah - I had no more energy. He was better. 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 kilometers 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.
 

 

Sagan also added:

“It’s my destiny - who has more second places than me"

 “It’s time to start winning.”

 

Top ten from E3 Harelbeke:

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
7 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
9 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team

 

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

 

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