News

E3 Harelbeke becomes E3 Saxo Bank Classic, adds new climbs

For 2021, the race gets a new sponsor, a new name, and a reconfigured route.

The 63rd edition of the E3 Harelbeke was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For 2021, the race gets a new sponsor, a new name, and some new cobbled climbs for one of the most challenging of the Belgian classics.

The renamed E3 Saxo Bank Classic is currently on the 2021 UCI racing calendar for Friday, March 26.

The updated route includes the addition of three new ascents, bringing the tally to 17.

Those familiar with Flanders might recognize the addition of the Kanarieberg, the Oude Kruisberg, and the Eikenberg climbs.

The Kapelberg, the Paterberg, and the Oude Kwaremont all remain on the route, and the finish in Harelbeke also remains unchanged.

The 2019 edition was won by Zdeněk Štybar of Deceuninck-Quick-Step, and at the official announcement of the 2021 event, the Czech rider was a featured guest, alongside Israel Start-Up Nation’s assistant sports director Dirk Demol.

Saxobank became interested in acquiring BinckBank in 2018, and the takeover was approved in 2019. With the completion of the acquisition in 2020, the name of the event which reflects the title sponsor changed as well.

New backers, same race, with a few new twists.