Formerly known as the tongue-twister that was E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, this year’s E3 Harelbeke is the 55th edition – but the first as a WorldTour event. This – and Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem – is seen as a warm-up event for the brutality of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and Paris-Roubaix later in the month.
Defending champion Fabian Cancellara will be back to defend the title he won with a dramatic solo ride last year.
Mario Cipollini is 45 years young today.
‘Cipo’ is on the comeback trail again. It’s been recently reported that he’s looking to lend his wealth of experience – a palmares longer than his abundant locks – to Farnese Vini’s sprinter, Andrea Guardini, and even lead his sprint train. Nothing’s been reported on what Oscar Gatto, whose job is to lead the train thinks, although Pippo Pozzato’s been quite loquacious. In addition, Mario’s going to be a guinea pig, as opposed to a lion, tiger or whichever animal all those silly outfits were supposed to represent, for some sports scientists studying the effect of the passage of time on the performance of elite athletes.