The tie-in to the Tour of Flanders is strong with seven winners in the last twenty years going on to win ‘De Ronde’ weeks later.
The E3 Saxo Bank Classic features both cobbles and short and sharp climbs – often cobbled as well -, which is a combination that really wears the riders out. The 2021 route amounts to 204 kilometres and features seventeen ‘hellingen’. Most of the climbs and cobbles are packed together in the second half of the race, which is – obviously – the place where the real action takes place. Tiegemberg is the last uphill section and it’s crested almost 20 kilometres before the line.
Long-range attacks are quite common in the E3 Harelbeke, although the race also has seen its fair share of late attacks and sprints of select groups.
Still active riders with the E3 Harelbeke on their palmares are Stybar (2019), Terpstra (2018), Van Avermaet (2017), Michal Kwiatkowski (2016), Geraint Thomas (2015), and Peter Sagan (2014).
Favourites E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021
***** Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen, Mathieu van der Poel
**** Michael Matthews, Matteo Trentin, Søren Kragh Andersen
*** Jasper Stuyven, Greg Van Avermaet, Kasper Asgreen, Alberto Bettiol
** Iván García, Tiesj Benoot, Alexander Kristoff, Yves Lampaert, John Degenkolb
* Philippe Gilbert, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Sep Vanmarcke, Oliver Naesen, Tom Pidcock