After a storming E3 Harelbeke started the week of Belgian Classics off with a bang and a Boonen, Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem sees many of the same riders taking to the road to put more climbs and kilometres into their legs in preparation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) on April 1st. Defending champion Tom Boonen is in incredible form and will be looking to go 2-0 over Fabian Cancellara in this weekend’s racing.
What kind of race is it?
This 235km one-day classic, traditionally ridden on the Sunday before Ronde, is the most sprinter-friendly of the Belgian classics due to its flat finish – and certainly last year’s top five and a glance at the list of winners bears this out, although the 11 climbs doesn’t necessarily make a bunch sprint inevitable. Continue reading
It started so calmly. It was a beautiful, warm spring day, the whole of Belgium was out by the roadside and conditions were perfect for E3 Harelbeke‘s first year as a WorldTour race. Odds were on Fabian Cancellara to make it a hat-trick but everyone wanted to see what kind of form Tom Boonen was in on the run-up to Ronde van Vlaanderen. Well, we found out.
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.