E3 Saxo Classic 2024: The Route

 E3 Saxo Classic 2024Friday 22 March - The ten day long Flemish cycling bonanza kicks off with the E3 Saxo Classic. The race adds up to roughly 207.6 kilometres, while taking in seventeen hills and five cobbled sectors.

An important race in itself, the E3 Saxo Classic also reveals who the on form riders are before the High Mass of Flemish cycling – the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The ‘Flemish Week’ sets off with a gradual build up. The first 50 kilometres feature three cobbled sectors and only one ‘helling’, the Katteberg. The subsesequent 50 kilometres are nothing special either. Only two hills, La Houppe and Kanarieberg, and that’s it.

So the race is a slow burner, but it starts to catch fire after 100 kilometres. The riders tackle nine climbs within 50 kilometres – Oude Kruisberg, Knokteberg, Hotondberg, Kortekeer, Taaienberg, Berg ten Stene, Boigneberg, Ellestraat, Stationberg – before continuing onto the flat cobbles of the Mariaborrestraat.

Another series of climbs is expected to do even more damage. The Kapelberg and the cobbled combo Paterberg/Oude Kwaremont follow in quick succession before an 8 kilometres hiatus leads to the Karnemelkbeekstraat climb. The cobbles on the Varent precedes the last ‘helling’ of the E3, Tiegemberg, which is crested with 20 kilometres left to race. The run-in to the line in Harelbeke is entirely flat.

Last year’s E3 Saxo Classic reached its zenith at the steep cobbles of Oude Kwaremont. Tadej Pogacar accelerated and Mathieu van der Poel followed him like a shadow, while Wout van Aert regained contact just after the summit. The tree super stars remained together all the way to the finish line. Van Aert kicked early, Pogacar threw in the towel, and Van der Poel gave it his all, but it was not enough. Hence Van Aert succeeded himself, as he also won the E3 in 2022.

Ride the route yourself? Download GPX E3 Saxo Classic.

Other interesting reads: results and start list 2024 E3 Saxo Classic.

E3 Saxo Classic 2024: routes, profiles, more

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