E3 Harelbeke 2017: Van Avermaet bests Gilbert and Naesen on the line
At 206.1 kilometres, the route of the E3 Harelbeke takes in fifteen sharp climbs and five cobbled sectors. The race ignites on Taaienberg with some 75 kilometres left and Oliver Naesen, Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert turn out on top. The Olympic Champion outsprints his fellow-escapees on the line in Harelbeke. (Slideshow route/profile)
Results E3 Harelbeke 2017
1. Greg Van Avermaet (bel)
2. Philippe Gilbert (bel) s.t.
3. Oliver Naesen (bel) s.t.
4. Luke Durbridge (aus) + 0.40
5. Lukas Pöstlberger (aut) + 0.41
6. Michael Valgren (den) + 0.52
7. Sonny Colbrelli (ita) s.t.
8. Tom Boonen (bel) s.t.
9. Dylan van Baarle (nld) s.t.
10. Alberto Bettiol (ita) s.t.
It’s 80 kms into the race when the break finally gets clear. Gougeard attacks and De Vreese, Van Hoecke, Per, Masson and Van der Hoorn jump to his wheel. They race to a maximum lead of almost 5 minutes, while De Bondt, Delage and Van Asbroeck are chasing.
On the cobbled Taaienberg Boonen accelerates and the peloton breaks. Gilbert, Pöstlberge, Van Avermaet and Naesen push on and re-join De Bondt, Delage en Van Asbroeck. Vanmarcke and Durbridge bridge over.
Gilbert grabs the opportunity on Eikenberg to reduce the chasers to Van Avermaet, Naesen, Vanmarcke, Durbridge and Pöstlberger. They gobble up the front group. Soon Van Hoecke is dropped with a mechanical, while Peter Sagan hits the tarmac in a peloton-crash with 42 kms to go.
After Oude Kwaremont the front group is down to three homeriders: Naesen, Van Avermaet and Gilbert. On the top the peloton is more than 1 minute in arrears and the gap widens to 2 minutes.
In the finale Gilbert gets stuck on the front. Naesen is the first to jump and Van Avermaet surges past, while Gilberts misses the punch to outgun his former team-mate.
Read also about the route and the start list.
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