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Van Aert, Laporte go 1-2 for Jumbo-Visma at E3 Saxo Bank Classic

Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte finished off a superb team performance from Jumbo-Visma at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, taking first and second after they attacked together over the Paterberg with 40km to race and time trialed to victory in Harelbeke.

Laporte occasionally struggled to come through and share the work with van Aert and so after a handshake and a hug, he allowed his team leader to cross the line first as they rode side by side in celebration.

Behind a chase-group of eight quality riders, including Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) and Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), could do nothing to close the gap despite working together for the last hour of racing. They lost seconds with every kilometre, eventually finishing two minutes behind van Aert and Laporte.

Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) made a late attack to edge away and take third place, with Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) winning the sprint for fourth place, but 2:36 behind van Aert and Laporte.

Other groups that were unable to go with Jumbo-Visma’s attacks on the Taaienberg with 80km to go or were distanced before the Paterberg, finished 3:30 and more behind. It was total domination by Jumbo-Visma.

Van Aert was tired as he celebrated with his partner and young son but happy to have won in such dominant style just over a week before the Tour of Flanders.

"The team was impressive. I have to thank every single one of the guys for setting us up in the final,” Van Aert said.

“Me and Christophe were supposed to be more defensive until the Paterberg and from then on we were together in front. Also a big thank you to Christophe to give me this victory. It means so much to win this big Classic in Flanders and I'm really proud of my team.

Van Aert promised to repay Laporte for his gesture later in the season after already allowing the Frenchman to win the opening stage at Paris-Nice.

"There was no discussion at all about the win. I think there are still a lot of races to come and we'll definitely end up in more difficult situations with more guys around us. Sooner or later Christophe or someone else will get this chance.

“This is how we want to race and this is the way everybody believes we can have the biggest chance of winning.”

Van Aert was happy but aware he had gone deep to win so dominantly.

"Bike racing is really hard. It's one of the hardest races of the spring season but I learned our team is really on top of it,” he said.

How it unfolded

The 64th edition of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic began under clear skies and 17°C temperatures in Harelbeke, with 173 riders taking the start after pre-race withdrawals from Mikkel Honoré (illness), Pascal Ackermann (a crash at the Classic Brugge-De Panne), and Lawson Craddock (a crash at sign-on).

The Belgian race is known as a mini Tour of Flanders at 203.9 kilometres in length and packed with several of the same climbs that fill out the route of 'De Ronde' next Sunday. 17 major climbs and 11 cobbled sectors lay between the peloton and the finish, with the Taaienberg, Stationsberg, Tiegemberg and the Paterberg-Oude Kwaremont double chief among them.

An early crash saw Tosh Van der Sande (Jumbo-Visma) and Guy Sagiv (Israel-Premier Tech) abandon due to injury, reducing the peloton to 171 men. Up front, the pace was high to begin the day, with attackers struggling to break away from the peloton.

Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers), Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ) and Jenthe Biermans (Israel-Premier Tech) were among a nine-man group that attempted to break away after 40 kilometres, though a closed level crossing put paid to their brief foray off the front.

Shortly afterwards, the Bora-Hansgrohe duo of Ryan Mullen and Lukas Pöstlberger jumped away, with seven more riders quickly sensing that it was the move to follow. Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies), Jelle Wallays (Cofidis), Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB) and Lasse Norman Hansen (Uno-X) made it across, securing the break of the day after a fast opening 60 kilometres of racing.

The nine-man group was given some time – but only two minutes – by a peloton keen to keep things under control ahead of a hard race. A relatively calm period of the race following the establishment of the break was broken after 20 more kilometres as the riders reached the real start of the hill zone with La Houppe, Kanarieberg and Oude Kruisberg kicking things off.

The two-minute gap to the break held firm over the early hills as top teams Ineos Grenadiers, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, Jumbo-Visma, and Trek-Segafredo shared the workload in the peloton. Numerous small spills hindered several riders' races, while Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) was held up by a very slow bike change before Kortekeer.

The cobbled climbs

With 80 kilometres to go, the race hit the Taaienberg – affectionately nicknamed the Boonen-berg after the Belgian rider’s legendary surges, with Jumbo-Visma flying onto the cobbles.

Wout van Aert hit the front and blew the race apart, going over the top with teammates Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious). It was a show of things to come.

The attack group pushed on over the flatland that followed the descent, catching the break at 75km to go. Following a push by Benoot on Berg Ten Stene, only Oss remained among the leaders, who lay 45 seconds up on the Ineos-led peloton.

Ineos Grenadiers charged up the cobbled Eikenberg, with Jhonatan Narváez putting in a move which saw him bridge to the break. He took teammate Dylan van Baarle, plus Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Florian Sénéchal, Davide Ballerini (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Michael Gogl (Alpecin-Fenix), Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) with him to spark a regrouping at the head of the race.

After the descent, Mike Teunissen bridged across to make it four Jumbo-Visma men up front, with Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X) going with the Dutchman. The group stayed together on the Stationsberg and Marieborrestraat, despite several changes of pace at the front, while the peloton lay a minute down.

On the steep cobbled slopes of the Paterberg, it was Van Aert again as the protagonist, accelerating on the toughest part of the hill to take teammate Christophe Laporte along with 41 kilometres to go as Girmay led the chase. It was another masterclass of Classics riding, with everyone else distanced and unable to chase.

Van Aert and Laporte switched to two-up time trial mode but the Frenchman struggled to even stay in his leader’s slipstream.

At the base of Oude Kwaremont, 25 seconds separated the Jumbo-Visma duo and the chase, led by Asgreen. Stuyven, Gogl, Teunissen, Tiller and Turgis lost contact on the climb, joining Ballerini (dropped) and Sénéchal (mechanical) out the back.

The eight-man chase that remained gave their best effort and worked together but couldn't close the gap on the flat roads.

35 seconds separated them from the lead duo on the Karnemelkbeekstraat with 30 kilometres to go. Their lead was up to 1:00 with 20km to go and then 1:30 with 15km to go. Behind, they knew they were racing for third place.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 4:38:04
2Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma
3Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:35
4Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:36
5Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
7Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
9Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
10Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
11Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:03:30
12Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
13Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
14Michael Gogl (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:31
15Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:34
16Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:34
17Marco Haller (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
18Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:43
19Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
20Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost 0:05:44
21Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team 0:05:57
22Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
23Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
24Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:00
25Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
26Alex Edmondson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
27Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
28Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
29Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
30Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar Team
31Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
32John Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM
33Barnabás Peák (Hun) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
34Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
35Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
36Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
37Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
38Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
39Daniel Oss (Ita) TotalEnergies
40Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
41Victor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
42Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
43Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
44Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
45Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
46Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
47Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM
48Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
49Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
50Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
51Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
52Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
53Davide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
54Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
55Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
56Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies 0:06:05
57Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
58Jannik Steimle (Ger) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
59Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:10
60Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:22
61Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team 0:10:53
62Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
63Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
64Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
65Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroen Team 0:11:15
66Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
67Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
68Peter Sagan (Svk) TotalEnergies
69Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroen Team
70Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:12:28
71Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
72Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
73Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
74Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
75Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
76Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
77Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
78Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
79Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers
80Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
81Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
82Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
83Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
84Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
85Ryan Mullen (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
86Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
87Quentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
88Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
89Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
90Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
91Aaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
92Martin Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
93Niklas Märkl (Ger) Team DSM
94Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
95Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
96Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
97Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
98Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
99Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
100Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
101Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
102André Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
103Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
104Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
105Leonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
106Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
107Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
108Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
109Wesley Kreder (Ned) Cofidis
110Alexander Konychev (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
111Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFEdoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
DNFLars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFJonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
DNFSimone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) Bahrain Victorious
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFFilip Maciejuk (Pol) Bahrain Victorious
DNFVictor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFRüdiger Selig (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFNiklas Larsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFKarl Patrick Lauk (Est) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFAntoine Raugel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFFelix Groß (Ger) Uae Team Emirates
DNFKévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
DNFLeon Heinschke (Ger) Team DSM
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
DNFLuca Colnaghi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFKevin Vermaerke (USA) Team DSM
DNFJordi Warlop (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFQuinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFCampbell Stewart (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFAlexys Brunel (Fra) UAE Team Emirates
DNFKelland O’Brien (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFTobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFEdward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) TotalEnergies
DNFEdvald Boasson-Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
DNFNiki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFDaan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
DNFOwain Doull (GBr) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFSander De Pestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Pol) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFFilippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFJenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFDanny van Poppel (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFLudovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFKim Heiduk (Ger) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFMatthias Brändle (Aut) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFTaj Jones (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFGuy Sagiv (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFEnrico Zanoncello (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNSLawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNSMikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNSPascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates

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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.


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