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Stybar wins E3 BinckBank Classic

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Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep)

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) makes a move

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) makes a move (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep)

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep)

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) with the win

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) with the win (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Wout Van Aert and Greg Van Avermaet in a split

Wout Van Aert and Greg Van Avermaet in a split (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma)

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha Alpecin) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis)

Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha Alpecin) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep) attacks the breakaway

Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep) attacks the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep)

Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie)

Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic

The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Marc Hirschii (Sunweb) leads the breakaway

Marc Hirschii (Sunweb) leads the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Mihkel Raim (Israel Cycling Academy)

Mihkel Raim (Israel Cycling Academy) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen) leads the breakaway

Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen) leads the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic

The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic

The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic

The 2019 E3 Harelbeke/BinckBank Classic (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)

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

#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
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