Stybar wins E3 BinckBank Classic

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.

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

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep4:46:05
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education FirstRow 3 - Cell 2
5Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:00:03
6Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:04
7Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-ScottRow 6 - Cell 2
8Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team SunwebRow 9 - Cell 2
11Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:33
12Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education FirstRow 11 - Cell 2
13Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 13 - Cell 2
15Niki Terpstra (Ned) Direct Energie0:01:37
16Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:42
17Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 16 - Cell 2
18Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:45
19Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:49
20Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 20 - Cell 2
22John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 21 - Cell 2
23Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 22 - Cell 2
24Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie BruxellesRow 23 - Cell 2
25Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 24 - Cell 2
26Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 27 - Cell 2
29Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 28 - Cell 2
30Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 29 - Cell 2
31Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 30 - Cell 2
32Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 33 - Cell 2
35Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 34 - Cell 2
36Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 35 - Cell 2
37Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 36 - Cell 2
38Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 37 - Cell 2
39Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension DataRow 38 - Cell 2
40Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 39 - Cell 2
41Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 41 - Cell 2
43Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Wallonie BruxellesRow 42 - Cell 2
44Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 45 - Cell 2
47Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 46 - Cell 2
48Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 47 - Cell 2
49Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 48 - Cell 2
50Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 49 - Cell 2
51Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 50 - Cell 2
52Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 53 - Cell 2
55Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) CCC TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 55 - Cell 2
57Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-ScottRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 57 - Cell 2
59Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-MeridaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 59 - Cell 2
61Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 60 - Cell 2
62Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 61 - Cell 2
63Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:02:59
64Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:03:46
65Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 64 - Cell 2
66Stijn Steels (Bel) Roompot-CharlesRow 65 - Cell 2
67Conor Dunne (Irl) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 66 - Cell 2
68Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 69 - Cell 2
71Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 70 - Cell 2
72Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 71 - Cell 2
73Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie BruxellesRow 72 - Cell 2
74Michael Schär (Swi) CCC TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Aksel Nõmmela (Est) Wallonie BruxellesRow 74 - Cell 2
76Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 75 - Cell 2
77Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma0:03:48
78Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-HansgroheRow 77 - Cell 2
79Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team SkyRow 78 - Cell 2
80Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:10:39
81Jaime Castrillo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 81 - Cell 2
83Pim Ligthart (Ned) Direct EnergieRow 82 - Cell 2
84Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Wallonie BruxellesRow 83 - Cell 2
85Zico Waeytens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 84 - Cell 2
86Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 85 - Cell 2
87Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJRow 86 - Cell 2
88Senne Leysen (Bel) Roompot-CharlesRow 87 - Cell 2
89Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team SunwebRow 88 - Cell 2
90Ian Stannard (GBr) Team SkyRow 89 - Cell 2
91Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team SkyRow 90 - Cell 2
92Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-GobertRow 91 - Cell 2
93Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-CharlesRow 92 - Cell 2
94Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 93 - Cell 2
95Ludwig De Winter (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 94 - Cell 2
96Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Dimension DataRow 95 - Cell 2
97Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education FirstRow 97 - Cell 2
99Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFFlorian Stork (Ger) Team SunwebRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-CharlesRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFBrian van Goethem (Ned) Lotto SoudalRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFJasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team EmiratesRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFBert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFSjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-CharlesRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFAsbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFJan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-CharlesRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFFilippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFHector Carretero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFAlex Frame (NZl) Trek-SegafredoRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFEdoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-ScottRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFBagdonas Gediminas (Ltu) AG2R La MondialeRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-SegafredoRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFSondre Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team EmiratesRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFNico Denz (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) CCC TeamRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFJustin Timmermans (Ned) Roompot-CharlesRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFEdvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFBernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension DataRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFJustin Jules (Fra) Wallonie BruxellesRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFJay Thomson (RSA) Dimension DataRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFJaco Venter (RSA) Dimension DataRow 138 - Cell 2
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFEmiel Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFLogan Owen (USA) EF Education FirstRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 142 - Cell 2
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 143 - Cell 2
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 144 - Cell 2
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 145 - Cell 2
DNFRobbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 146 - Cell 2
DNFWillem Jakobus Smit (RSA) Katusha-AlpecinRow 147 - Cell 2
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 148 - Cell 2
DNFLindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 149 - Cell 2
DNFMads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFChad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 152 - Cell 2
DNFJerome Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 153 - Cell 2
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 154 - Cell 2
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team SunwebRow 155 - Cell 2
DNFJan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 156 - Cell 2
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-ScottRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFPiet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 159 - Cell 2
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 160 - Cell 2
DNFZhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 161 - Cell 2
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJRow 162 - Cell 2
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 163 - Cell 2
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education FirstRow 164 - Cell 2
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 166 - Cell 2
DNFChristopher Lawless (GBr) Team SkyRow 167 - Cell 2
DNFOwain Doull (GBr) Team SkyRow 168 - Cell 2
DNFLeonardo Basso (Ita) Team SkyRow 169 - Cell 2
DNFLukas Spengler (Swi) Wallonie BruxellesRow 170 - Cell 2
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education FirstRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education FirstRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 174 - Cell 2

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.

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