The 3 Harelbeke is a prototypical example of a Flemish Classic that really wears the riders out. In 2018, the 206 kilometres route takes in fifteen (often cobbled) climbs and thirteen ‘hellingen’ are in the second half of the race. Tiegemberg is the last uphill section and it’s crested 18.6 kilometres before the line. Last year, Oliver Naesen made the decisive move earlier though. He attacked at Oude Kwaremont with some 40 kilometres remaining. Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert joined him and eventually Van Avermaet won the three-up sprint.
Last year’s scenario is quite common in Dwars door Vlaanderen. The race often comes down to a sprint of a select group or a (late) attack.
Van Avermaet stepped in the shoes of E3 winners Michal Kwiatkowski (2016), Geraint Thomas (2015) and Peter Sagan (2014). As Kwiatkowski and Thomas are not competing, Van Avermaet and Sagan are the only former winners at the the start.
Michael Valgren (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad), Dylan Groenewegen (Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne), Tiesj Benoot (Strade Bianche) and Vincenzo Nibali (Milan-San Remo) took the wins in this year’s Classics. Valgren and Benoot are the only ones on this list who will line-up at the E3 Harelbeke.
Favourites E3 Harelbeke
***** Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan, Oliver Naesen, Philippe Gilbert
**** Niki Terpstra, Tiesj Benoot, Sep Vanmarcke, Dylan van Baarle
*** Luke Durbridge, Arnaud Démare, Sebastian Langeveld
** Jens Keukeleire, Jasper Stuyven, Michael Valgren, Michael Matthews
* Alberto Bettiol, Alexander Kristoff, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sonny Colbrelli
E3 Harelbeke 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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