E3 Harelbeke 2015: The Route

E3-HarelbekeFriday, March 27, 2015 – Cold climbing on cobblestones. That’s the three C’s of the E3 Harelbeke. In 219 kilometres riders face 1 Wallone and 16 Flemish hills, starting with the Katteberg and closing with the Tiegemberg.

At Berchem the riders cross the Scheldt and enter the domain of the Flemish hills in East Flanders. With 32 kilometres the Katteberg is the first one, a 600 metres climb at 6.7%. Not much later the Leberg is next – 700 metres at 6.1%.

After passing Geraardsbergen there is ample time for a little trip into Wallonia with a climb up La Houppe – 3.4 kilometres at 3.3%. When cresting the riders are 100 kilometres in the saddle.

After Berg ten Stene (1,560 metres at 7.3%) and Boigneberg (2,180 metres at 5.8%) a trio of cobbled hills are waiting to be climbed: Eikenberg (1,200 metres at 5.5%), Stationsberg (460 metres at 3.2%) and Taaienberg (650 metres at 9.5 percent). The name of that last hill means Mountain for the Toughest and that’s correct. The steepest section is 18%.

Next come Knokteberg (1,530 metres, 5.3%), Hotondberg (1,200 metres, 4%), Rotelenberg (1,100 metres, 3%), Kortekeer (1,000 metres, 6.4%), Kapelberg (900 metres, 7%) and Paterberg (700 metres, 12%).

The finale begins at the Oude Kwaremont, well-known and often crucial in the Tour of Flanders. It’s a nasty 2,200 metres climb on cobblestones with an average gradient 4.2%. When cresting it’s 38 kilometres left to race.

Last year the Karnemelkbeekstraat (1,530 metres at 4.9%) debuted in the E3 Harelbeke. On these slopes Sagan attacked and he was followed by Geraint Thomas, Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh. Terpstra and Vandenbergh are team-mates and they tried to drop Sagan by taking turns in jumps, but they didn’t succeed.

The last obstacle of the day is Tiegemberg – 1000 metres at 6.5%. The remainder is 20 kilometres on flat roads in open fields. So that’s a disadvantage for a lone escapee.

Last year the break of four managed to stay upfront with Peter Sagan sprinting to victory. Niki Terpstra took second place, Geraint Thomas was third.

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E3 Harelbeke 2015: Route, profile, scheduled times, and more

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