Events

E3 Harelbeke: Van Avermaet wins from long-range breakaway

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to his first E3 Harelbeke classic victory Friday in Belgium out of a three-man breakaway.

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet won his first E3 Harelbeke classic Friday in Belgium. The BMC Racing team leader won a three-man sprint, just ahead of Quick-Step’s Philippe Gilbert and Ag2r La Mondiale’s Oliver Naesen. The trio had been off the front for about 70 kilometers, while pre-race favorite and world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) missed the move and was tangled up in a late-race crash.

“We were three friends up front but you have to shut it out of your mind,” said Van Avermaet. “It was a poker game. I’m delighted with this success, all the more because my breathing problems from the start of the week are forgotten.”

Top-10 results

  • 1. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC RACING TEAM, in 4:48:22
  • 2. Philippe GILBERT, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 3. Oliver NAESEN, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :00
  • 4. Luke DURBRIDGE, ORICA – SCOTT, at :38
  • 5. Lukas PÖSTLBERGER, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :40
  • 6. MICHAEL VALGREN ANDERSEN, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :51
  • 7. Sonny COLBRELLI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :53
  • 8. Tom BOONEN, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :53
  • 9. Dylan VAN BAARLE, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :53
  • 10. Alberto BETTIOL, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :53

The day’s early breakaway included six men: Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Laurens De Vreese (Astana), David Per (Bahrain-Merida), Giles Van Hoecke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), and Christophe Masson (WB Veranclassic).

Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen initiated the first split on the Taaienberg — affectionately known as the “Boonenberg” — accelerating up the smooth gutter next to the cobbles. With 71km to go, the group had a gap and included many top favorites, such as Sagan, and Van Avermaet.

Impatient with the lack of cooperation, Boonen tried another acceleration, and then his teammate Gilbert delivered a counterattack. Joined by three others, including Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac), Gilbert’s group made short work of the gap to three chasers, who were behind the six-man break at the head of the race. By that point, with about 66km to go, Gilbert’s group was 1:30 behind the leaders, at the start of the Boigneberg climb.

The cobbled Eikenberg climb was next on the menu, 1,200 meters long at 5.5 percent. After this challenge, Gilbert’s group caught the dregs of the early attack, 59km from the finish.

By the final 50 kilometers, the gap to the disorganized peloton, which included Sagan, was at about one minute. About 10 kilometers later, the peloton was disrupted by a crash. Sagan went down and was dropped.

“It was a tough race. I didn’t jump on the front group when they attacked and made the decisive move and then the crash wiped out all the chances I had to bridge the gap,” Sagan said.

Another favorite who was stuck in the bunch, Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb, was stymied by a touch of wheels on the Paterberg, forced to put a foot down.

At the front, the day’s podium was decided on the Oude Kwaremont climb when Naesen, Gilbert, and Van Avermaet rode clear. Vanmarcke teamed up with De Vreese in a bid to bring back the leaders, but the two were soon caught by the peloton.

Despite Trek-Segafredo’s efforts to chase for John Degenkolb, the breakaway trio had a two-minute gap by the final 20 kilometers.

Gilbert tested the waters on E3 Harelbeke’s final climb, the Tiegemberg. Although Van Avermaet could follow, Naesen was dropped. However, the Ag2r rider wasn’t finished, and with a bold chase on the downhill, he regained contact with his two fellow Belgians.

Under the red kite, Gilbert was at the front of the group for the final kilometer of racing. The sprint set up to be very slow and tactical, as the Quick-Step rider coasted on the front of the trio. Naesen hit out first. Van Avermaet found his slipstream and came around at the very last moment to win the day.

“In the sprint, Naesen surprised me when he opened his sprint and I hesitated for a second. That, and the headwind, made it really hard to get back in the front. It’s a pity, because I was there and could have won, but that’s racing,” said Gilbert.

Classics racing continues Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem, where Sagan, the 2016 winner, will hope for better luck.

Full results

  • 1. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC RACING TEAM, in 4:48:17
  • 2. Philippe GILBERT, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 3. Oliver NAESEN, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :00
  • 4. Luke DURBRIDGE, ORICA – SCOTT, at :40
  • 5. Lukas PÖSTLBERGER, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :41
  • 6. MICHAEL VALGREN ANDERSEN, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :52
  • 7. Sonny COLBRELLI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :52
  • 8. Tom BOONEN, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :52
  • 9. Dylan VAN BAARLE, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :52
  • 10. Alberto BETTIOL, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :52
  • 11. Fabio FELLINE, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :52
  • 12. Jens KEUKELEIRE, ORICA – SCOTT, at :52
  • 13. John DEGENKOLB, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :52
  • 14. Tiesj BENOOT, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :52
  • 15. Luke ROWE, TEAM SKY, at :52
  • 16. Sebastian LANGEVELD, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :52
  • 17. Laurens DE VREESE, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :52
  • 18. Ignatas KONOVALOVAS, FDJ, at :52
  • 19. Niki TERPSTRA, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :52
  • 20. Daniel OSS, BMC RACING TEAM, at :52
  • 21. Tony MARTIN, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at :52
  • 22. Matteo TRENTIN, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :57
  • 23. Sep VANMARCKE, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 1:53
  • 24. Magnus Cort NIELSEN, ORICA – SCOTT, at 2:12
  • 25. Borut BOZIC, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 2:12
  • 26. Sacha MODOLO, UAE ABU DHABI, at 2:12
  • 27. Alexander KRISTOFF, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 2:12
  • 28. Ramon SINKELDAM, TEAM SUNWEB, at 2:12
  • 29. Olivier LE GAC, FDJ, at 2:12
  • 30. Scott THWAITES, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at 2:12
  • 31. Jasper DE BUYST, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:12
  • 32. Iljo KEISSE, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 2:12
  • 33. Luka PIBERNIK, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 2:12
  • 34. Frederik BACKAERT, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 2:12
  • 35. Koen DE KORT, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 2:12
  • 36. Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCK, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 2:12
  • 37. Mathew HAYMAN, ORICA – SCOTT, at 2:12
  • 38. Taco VAN DER HOORN, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 2:12
  • 39. Carlos BARBERO CUESTA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:12
  • 40. Loïc VLIEGEN, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:12
  • 41. Jasha SÜTTERLIN, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:12
  • 42. Bryan COQUARD, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 2:12
  • 43. Gijs VAN HOECKE, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 2:12
  • 44. Stijn DEVOLDER, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 2:12
  • 45. Bram TANKINK, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 2:12
  • 46. Jos VAN EMDEN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 2:12
  • 47. Jean-Pierre DRUCKER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:12
  • 48. Jelle WALLAYS, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:12
  • 49. Huub DUYN, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 2:12
  • 50. Thomas SPRENGERS, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 2:12
  • 51. Alexey LUTSENKO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 2:12
  • 52. Kevin ISTA, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT, at 2:12
  • 53. Zdenek ŠTYBAR, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 2:16
  • 54. Lukasz WISNIOWSKI, TEAM SKY, at 2:16
  • 55. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:16
  • 56. Ian STANNARD, TEAM SKY, at 2:16
  • 57. Ivan GARCIA CORTINA, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 2:16
  • 58. Christopher JUUL JENSEN, ORICA – SCOTT, at 2:16
  • 59. Tom SCULLY, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 2:16
  • 60. Antoine DUCHESNE, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 2:16
  • 61. Sylvain CHAVANEL, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 2:16
  • 62. Gianni MOSCON, TEAM SKY, at 2:20
  • 63. Vegard Stake LAENGEN, UAE ABU DHABI, at 2:20
  • 64. Marco MARCATO, UAE ABU DHABI, at 2:29
  • 65. Tyler FARRAR, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at 2:43
  • 66. Hugo HOULE, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 6:15
  • 67. Aleksei TCATEVICH, GAZPROM – RUSVELO, at 6:15
  • 68. Dmitriy GRUZDEV, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 6:15
  • 69. Reto HOLLENSTEIN, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 6:15
  • 70. Nils POLITT, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 6:15
  • 71. Stijn VANDENBERGH, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 6:15
  • 72. Michael MORKOV, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 6:15
  • 73. Martin ELMIGER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 6:15
  • 74. Eliot LIETAER, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 6:15
  • 75. Søren Kragh ANDERSEN, TEAM SUNWEB, at 6:15
  • 76. Tom VAN ASBROECK, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 6:15
  • 77. Mickael DELAGE, FDJ, at 6:15
  • 78. Alexis GOUGEARD, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 6:15
  • 79. Kristijan KOREN, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 6:15
  • 80. Marcus BURGHARDT, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 6:15
  • 81. Bert DE BACKER, TEAM SUNWEB, at 8:36
  • 82. Elmar REINDERS, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 8:36
  • 83. Twan CASTELIJNS, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 8:36
  • 84. Floris GERFS, BMC RACING TEAM, at 8:36
  • 85. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ, at 8:36
  • 86. Jorge ARCAS PEÑA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:36
  • 87. Kenneth VAN ROOY, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 8:36
  • 88. Moreno HOFLAND, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 8:36
  • 89. Romain CARDIS, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 8:36
  • 90. Mads PEDERSEN, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 8:36
  • 91. Sjoerd VAN GINNEKEN, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 8:36
  • 92. Julien VERMOTE, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 8:36
  • 93. Julien DUVAL, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 8:36
  • 94. Nuno MATOS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:36
  • 95. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC RACING TEAM, at 8:36
  • 96. Lars BOOM, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 8:36
  • 97. Simone CONSONNI, UAE ABU DHABI, at 8:36
  • 98. Kris BOECKMANS, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 8:39
  • 99. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at 10:45
  • 100. Sven erik BYSTRØM, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 10:45
  • 101. Erik BASKA, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 10:45
  • 102. Maciej BODNAR, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 10:45
  • 103. Sander CORDEEL, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 10:45
  • 104. Alexander PORSEV, GAZPROM – RUSVELO, at 10:45
  • 105. Igor BOEV, GAZPROM – RUSVELO, at 10:45
  • 106. Julien MORICE, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 10:45
  • 107. Nans PETERS, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 10:45
  • 108. Peter SAGAN, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 10:45
  • 109. Alexandre PICHOT, DIRECT ENERGIE, at 10:45
  • 110. Remy MERTZ, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 10:45
  • 111. Pavel BRUTT, GAZPROM – RUSVELO, at 10:45
  • 112. Aime DE GENDT, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 10:45
  • DNF Juraj SAGAN, BORA – HANSGROHE
  • DNF Christian KNEES, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Owain DOULL, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Nico DENZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • DNF Salvatore PUCCIO, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Gediminas BAGDONAS, AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • DNF Matti BRESCHEL, ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • DNF Oscar GATTO, ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • DNF ANDREY GRIVKO, ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • DNF Christoph PFINGSTEN, BORA – HANSGROHE
  • DNF Truls KORSÆTH, ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • DNF Tony GALLOPIN, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNF NICCOLO’ BONIFAZIO, BAHRAIN – MERIDA
  • DNF Nikolas MAES, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNF David PER, BAHRAIN – MERIDA
  • DNF Ion Ander INSAUSTI IRASTORZA, BAHRAIN – MERIDA
  • DNF Aleksejs SARAMOTINS, BORA – HANSGROHE
  • DNF Danny VAN POPPEL, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Jack BAUER, QUICK – STEP FLOORS
  • DNF Chun Kai FENG, BAHRAIN – MERIDA
  • DNF Benjamin DECLERCQ, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Pieter VANSPEYBROUCK, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Elias VAN BREUSSEGEM, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN
  • DNF Otto VERGAERDE, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN
  • DNF Stef VAN ZUMMEREN, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN
  • DNF Gaetan BILLE, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN
  • DNF Dries DE BONDT, VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN
  • DNF Alex KIRSCH, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Dries VAN GESTEL, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Christophe MASSON, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Piet ALLEGAERT, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Andrea GUARDINI, UAE ABU DHABI
  • DNF Federico ZURLO, UAE ABU DHABI
  • DNF Oliviero TROIA, UAE ABU DHABI
  • DNF Marko KUMP, UAE ABU DHABI
  • DNF Bernhard EISEL, TEAM DIMENSION DATA
  • DNF Preben VAN HECKE, SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Ivan SAVITSKIY, GAZPROM – RUSVELO
  • DNF Pim LIGTHART, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ
  • DNF Coen VERMELTFOORT, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ
  • DNF Brian VAN GOETHEM, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ
  • DNF Berden DE VRIES, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ
  • DNF Jesper ASSELMAN, ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ
  • DNF Roman MAIKIN, GAZPROM – RUSVELO
  • DNF Ludwig DE WINTER, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Andrei SOLOMENNIKOV, GAZPROM – RUSVELO
  • DNF Kevin VAN MELSEN, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Adrien PETIT, DIRECT ENERGIE
  • DNF Ryan ANDERSON, DIRECT ENERGIE
  • DNF Jimmy DUQUENNOY, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Julien STASSEN, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Ludovic ROBEET, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Lawrence NAESEN, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT
  • DNF Nikolay TRUSOV, GAZPROM – RUSVELO
  • DNF Antonio PEDRERO LOPEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Jérôme BAUGNIES, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Mark RENSHAW, TEAM DIMENSION DATA
  • DNF Youcef REGUIGUI, TEAM DIMENSION DATA
  • DNF Nick DOUGALL, TEAM DIMENSION DATA
  • DNF Luka MEZGEC, ORICA – SCOTT
  • DNF Roger KLUGE, ORICA – SCOTT
  • DNF Marco HALLER, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN
  • DNF Dayer Uberney QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Jenthe BIERMANS, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN
  • DNF Héctor CARRETERO, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Marc SARREAU, FDJ
  • DNF Lorrenzo MANZIN, FDJ
  • DNF Jacopo GUARNIERI, FDJ
  • DNF MARC FOURNIER, FDJ
  • DNF Mitch DOCKER, ORICA – SCOTT
  • DNF Albert TIMMER, TEAM SUNWEB
  • DNF Simone ANTONINI, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Yoann OFFREDO, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Wesley KREDER, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Marco COLEDAN, TREK – SEGAFREDO
  • DNF Fumiyuki BEPPU, TREK – SEGAFREDO
  • DNF Gregory RAST, TREK – SEGAFREDO
  • DNF Jay Robert THOMSON, TEAM DIMENSION DATA
  • DNF Zico WAEYTENS, TEAM SUNWEB
  • DNF Ryan MULLEN, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
  • DNF Mike TEUNISSEN, TEAM SUNWEB
  • DNF Tom STAMSNIJDER, TEAM SUNWEB
  • DNF Roy CURVERS, TEAM SUNWEB
  • DNF Maarten WYNANTS, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Robert Thomas WAGNER, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Thomas LEEZER, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Jasper STUYVEN, TREK – SEGAFREDO