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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