The tie-in to the Tour of Flanders is strong 7 seven winners in the last 16 editions going on to win ‘De Ronde’ nine days later later.
The E3 Saxo Bank Classic includes both stretches of pavé and short and sharp climbs – often cobbled as well -, which is a combination that really wears the riders out. The route amounts to roughly 204 kilometres, while most obstacles are crammed together in the second half of the race, which is – obviously – the place where the real action takes place. Tiegemberg is the last ‘helling’ and it’s crested with 20 kilometres to go.
Long-range attacks are quite common in the E3 Harelbeke. In fact, eventual winner Kasper Asgreen took his chances last year with 70 kilometres remaining. An elite group reeled him in 12 kilometres before the line, but the Dane was not beaten. Far from it, he gave it another shot in the last 5 kilometres and soloed to victory.
Bunch sprints never occur in the E3, but the race has seen its fair share of successful late attacks and sprints of select groups.
With his 2021-victory Asgreen succeeded Stybar (2019), Terpstra (2018), Van Avermaet (2017), Michal Kwiatkowski (2016), Geraint Thomas (2015), and Peter Sagan (2014). The race did not take place in 2020.
Favourites E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2022
**** Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen, Søren Kragh Andersen
*** Dylan van Baarle, Kasper Asgreen, Jasper Stuyven
** Stefan Küng, Michael Valgren, Matej Mohoric, Tiesj Benoot, Antony Turgis
* Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Jhonatan Narváez, Florian Sénechal, Quinn Simmons