March 25, 2022
E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2022 – Harelbeke – Harelbeke : 203,9 km
First raced back in 1958, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic is actually one of the younger Flandrian Classics but has wasted none of its time growing into one of the most prestigious one-day races on the calendar.
March 25, 2022
E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2022 – Harelbeke – Harelbeke : 203,9 km
First raced back in 1958, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic is actually one of the younger Flandrian Classics but has wasted none of its time growing into one of the most prestigious one-day races on the calendar. Many cycling fans refer to this race as ‘The little Tour of Flanders’ and they couldn’t be more accurate with this nickname, the race mirrors its Flandrian cousin in both route and former winners. E3 Saxo Bank Classic follows a regular route that twists and turns its way through both West and East Flanders, scrambling up leg-breaking climbs in the hilly areas of Oudenaarde and the Flemish Ardennes. Climbs like the Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont and Teigemberg all feature in this race, with the latter often proving decisive as the final climb before the fast finish into Harelbeke.
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.
1 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 4:38:04
2 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma
3 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:35
4 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:36
5 Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6 Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
7 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
10 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
11 Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:03:30
12 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
13 Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
14 Michael Gogl (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:31
15 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:34
16 Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:34
17 Marco Haller (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
18 Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:43
19 Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
20 Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost 0:05:44
21 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team 0:05:57
22 Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
23 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
24 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:00
25 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
26 Alex Edmondson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
27 Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
28 Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
29 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
30 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar Team
31 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
32 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM
33 Barnabás Peák (Hun) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
34 Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
35 Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
36 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
37 Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
38 Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
39 Daniel Oss (Ita) TotalEnergies
40 Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
41 Victor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
42 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
43 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
44 Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
45 Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
46 Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
47 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM
48 Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
49 Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
50 Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
51 Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
52 Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
53 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
54 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
55 Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
56 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies 0:06:05
57 Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
58 Jannik Steimle (Ger) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
59 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:10
60 Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:22
61 Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team 0:10:53
62 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
63 Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
64 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
65 Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroen Team 0:11:15
66 Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
67 Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
68 Peter Sagan (Svk) TotalEnergies
69 Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroen Team
70 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:12:28
71 Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
72 Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
73 Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
74 Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
75 Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
76 Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
77 Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
78 Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
79 Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers
80 Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
81 Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
82 Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
83 Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
84 Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
85 Ryan Mullen (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
86 Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
87 Quentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
88 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
89 Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
90 Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
91 Aaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
92 Martin Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
93 Niklas Märkl (Ger) Team DSM
94 Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
95 Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
96 Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
97 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
98 Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
99 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
100 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
101 Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
102 André Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
103 Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
104 Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
105 Leonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
106 Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
107 Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
108 Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
109 Wesley Kreder (Ned) Cofidis
110 Alexander Konychev (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
111 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-EasyPost
DNF Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
DNF Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNF Adrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNF Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
DNF Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
DNF Kamil Gradek (Pol) Bahrain Victorious
DNF Stijn Steels (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNF Filip Maciejuk (Pol) Bahrain Victorious
DNF Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNF Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNF Niklas Larsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNF Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNF Karl Patrick Lauk (Est) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNF Gianni Moscon (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNF Antoine Raugel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
DNF Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNF Felix Groß (Ger) Uae Team Emirates
DNF Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
DNF Leon Heinschke (Ger) Team DSM
DNF Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
DNF Luca Colnaghi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNF Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Team DSM
DNF Jordi Warlop (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNF Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNF Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Campbell Stewart (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNF Alexys Brunel (Fra) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Kelland O’Brien (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNF Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNF Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
DNF Edward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNF Maciej Bodnar (Pol) TotalEnergies
DNF Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
DNF Niki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies
DNF Alexis Gougeard (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNF Daan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNF Jonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
DNF Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNF Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
DNF Owain Doull (GBr) EF Education-EasyPost
DNF Sander De Pestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) EF Education-EasyPost
DNF Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNF Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Danny van Poppel (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNF Ludovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNF Kim Heiduk (Ger) Ineos Grenadiers
DNF Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
DNF Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel-Premier Tech
DNF Taj Jones (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
DNF Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
DNF Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNF Enrico Zanoncello (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNF Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNS Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNS Mikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNS Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates