The cobbles and ‘hellingen’ of the E3 Harelbeke kick off the Belgian Classics season with a bumpy ride. The first uphill sector is the Wolvenberg, at kilometre 27. This is just stretching the legs as the following 63 kilometres feature two cobbled sectors but no climbs. At kilometre 91 the riders hit La Houppe. Still, we are only getting warmed up before the Flemish party really starts to get going.
The second half of the race is crammed with (often cobbled) climbs. With almost 100 kilometres the Broeke climb appears and 10 kilometres the riders face Knokteberg. On the trot, mostly being some 5 kilometres apart, the E3 Harelbeke tackles the Hotondberg, Kortekeer, Taaienberg (cobbled), Boigneberg, Eikenberg (cobbled), Stationsberg (cobbled), Kapelberg, Paterberg (cobbled), Oude Kwaremont (cobbled) and Karnemelkbeekstraat. The last hill, Tiegemberg, is crested with almost 20 kilometres remaining.
In the last edition, Oliver Naesen attacked on the Oude Kwaremont and he was accompanied by Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert. Just like this year, the cobbled climb featured in the race with approximately 40 kilometres to go. The trio distanced the peloton and in the finale Gilbert got stuck on the front. Naesen was the first to jump before Van Avermaet surged past to sprint to victory.
Read also: results/race report 2018 E3-Harelbeke.
E3 Harelbeke 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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