The cobbles and ‘hellingen’ of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic kick off the ‘Flemish Week’ with a bumpy ride. The first hour is slow though with only the Katteberg at kilometre 28, while La Houppe and Kanarieberg appear some 60 kilometres later.
So much for the calm before the storm, as the riders enter the storm itself after 100 kilometres. They tackle nine climbs within less than 50 kilometres – Oude Kruisberg, Knokteberg, Hotondberg, Kortekeer, Taaienberg, Berg ten Stene, Boigneberg, Eikenberg, and Stationberg. The race then continues onto the flat cobbles of the Mariaborrestraat. Still 56 kilometres and five climbs remaining at this point.
The E3 race should be on fire by now. Another series of climbs is expected to ignite the fireworks big time. The riders tackle the Kapelberg and the cobbled combo Paterberg/Oude Kwaremont in quick succession. The route continues over the so called E3 Col on the Karnemelkbeekstraat and onto 2 kilometres of cobbles on the Varent.
The last ‘helling’, Tiegemberg, is crested 19.3 kilometres before the line. The finale takes place on the flat.
Last year, Kasper Asgreen ventured out on his own as early as the Boigneberg. A group with Mathieu van der Poel, Greg Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar, Oliver Naesen, Florian Sénechal and Dylan van Baarle caught him 12 kilometres to go before the Dane soloed away for the second time inside the last 5 kilometres. This time to ride to victory.
Another interesting read: records & winners E3 Saxo Bank Classic.
E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021: routes, profiles, more
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