E3 Harelbeke 2016: Kwiatkowski bests Sagan in sprint-à-deux

At 206 kilometres, E3 Harelbeke offers a multitude of Flemish hills and cobbles. At Karnemelkbeekstraat, with around 30 kilometres left, Kwiatkowski and Sagan leave their competitors alone and they power to the line for a sprint-a-deux. The former World Champions bests the current World Champion in a smart sprint. Ian Stannard is the third rider on the podium. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results E3 Harelbeke 2016

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (pol)
2. Peter Sagan (svk) + 0.03
3. Ian Stannard (gbr) + 0.11
4. Fabian Cancellara (swi) s.t.
5. Jasper Stuyven (bel) s.t.
6. Lars Boom (nld) s.t.
7. Tiesj Benoot (bel) s.t.
8. Sep Vanmarcke (bel) s.t.
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (lux) s.t.
10. Daniel Oss (ita) s.t.

Race report
Favourite Greg Van Avermaet is ill, so the race leaves without him. The pace is high and it’s only with 40 kms done Nico Denz, Floris Gerts, Sjoerd van Ginneken, Antoine Demoité and Tony Hurel zip off the front with Bert De Backer and Reto Hollenstein bridging the gap. Jay Robert Thomson hooks up after a chase, while the peloton takes it easy. By then the pack is 6 minutes adrift.

At Taaienberg the race opens up. A selective group of favourites is 1 minute down on the front group. Cancellara, Boonen, Stybar, Terpstra, Trentin, Oss, Vanmarcke, Boom, Benoot and Roelandts are chasing, Sagan, Kristoff, Kwiatkowski and Stannard are left behind. A little later Cancellara is dropped because of a mechanical.

Sagan, Stannard and a bunch of ther riders rejoin the group with Boonen while Cancellara is forced to chase. Soon the front group is history.

With 55 kms left Cancellara hooks up with a chasing peloton with Kristoff aboard. The Norwegian can’t cope when Spartacus powers on and with 33 kms left he links up with the leading group.

A little later, at the Karnemelkbeekstraat-climb, Kwiatkowski and Sagan zip off the front and they race to a 0’40” lead. In the last kilometres the chasers come close thanks to a (too) late charge by Tom Boonen. Sagan pulls hard and Kwiatkowski plays it smart, powering away with 200 metres remaining.

E3 Harelbeke 2016: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Michal Kwiatkowski

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