Tom Boonen is record holder with five victories in the E3 Harelbeke. Peter Sagan is another former winner (2014). The victors in last two editions, Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski, are not participating.
The route of E3 Harelbeke takes in fifteen sharp Flemish hills. Tiegemberg is the last one and its crested with 18.6 kilometres to go. Last year the penultimate climb, at Karnemelkbeekstraat, proved to be decisive when Sagan and Kwiatkowski attacked. They managed to hold off the chasing peloton before Kwiat was fastest in the ensuing sprint-à-deux.
E3 Harelbeke is a perfect example of a Flemish Classic that really wears the riders out. The race usually boils down to a sprint of a select group or a few attackers.
Last Wednesday Philippe Gilbert was very strong in Dwars door Vlaanderen. The former World Champion initiated the break that resulted in the win by his team-mate Yves Lampaert, while he himself finished in second.
*** Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, John Degenkolb, Philippe Gilbert
** Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, Jasper Stuyven, Alexander Kristoff, Zdenek Stybar
* Sep Vanmarcke, Lars Boom, Ian Stannard, Dylan van Baarle, Luke Rowe, Sonny Colbrelli
E3 Harelbeke 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Route and profile Oude Kwaremont
Streetview Oude Kwaremont
Oude Kwaremont at strava.com
Route and profile Paterberg
Paterberg at strava.com
Route and profile Taaienberg
Taaienberg at strava.com