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E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke (1.HC)
By Bart Hazen
Date: 3/27/2010
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke (1.HC)

E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke (1.HC)
Time Trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara scores big in E3 Prijs Harelbeke. "Canc" wins from Boonen and Flecha with surprise attack in final kilometre. After Breschel it's the second big win in a Belgian classic for Saxo Bank in four days time.

Fabian Cancellara showed once again he is ready for his big goal this spring, the Tour of Flanders. The time-trial World Champion won the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in Harelbeke after powering away from his rivals Belgian Champion Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha in the final kilometre. The Belgian Champion finished once again as second, last year he was second behind Pozzato, in the race he won already four times. Flecha, the winner of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, is a good third.

The first hours of the race were very fast with an average of 48 km/h. Norwegian Thor Hushovd pulled out after 14 km of racing due to stomach problems (diarrhoea), a problem which kept Omega Pharma riders Wilfried Cretskens and Staf Scheirlinckx out of the race as well.

60 km into the race a group of 24 riders got away including Maarten Tjallingii, Sebastien Rosseler, Maxime Vantomme, Kasper Klostergaard, Steve Houanard, Floris Goesinnen, Stefan van Dijk and Frederic Guesdon. Most teams had a rider in front but the break never got a large gap. As a result of the high pace there were lots of crashes including Andreas Klier and Nick Nuyens. The latter one even crashed three times. Both riders had to drop out of the race.

After the first climbs Saxo Bank took control in the bunch with Stuart O'Grady and Gustav Larsson doing most of the work. Due to that the gap dropped back to less than one minute on the break which broke into parts on the Eikenberg. After the Eikenberg the break of 24 was reduced to just Tjallingii, Rosseler, Klostergaard, Vantomme, Van Dijk and Houanard. The latter two dropped on the Stationsberg and the remaining four were still about 50 seconds in front of the bunch.

On the Taaienberg Boonen attacked but the Belgian Champion stopped his efforts when he got stuck between the dropped riders from the early break of 24. Just before the Taaienberg there was a crash with Bram Tankink, Nick Nuyes and Fabian Cancellara. Cancellara was back on the bike quite fast and was back in front in no-time.

Between the Taaienberg and the Paterberg Quick-Step took control in the bunch with Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Devolder and Maarten Wynants. The team perfectly brought team captain Boonen to his favorite climb the Paterberg. At the foot of the Paterberg Tjallingii, Rosseler, Klostergaard and Vantomme had a lead of 30 seconds on the bunch with favorites. As expected Tom Boonen launched his attack on the Paterberg and only Fabian Cancellara and Juan-Antonio Flecha were able to bridge up to the impressive Belgian.

The three bridged up to the four riders in front very quickly and left them behind on the Oude Kwaremont. Last year's winner Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), who missed the break, showed he has some good legs as well. Pozzato tried on the Kwaremont to bridge up to the world class break. He came to ten seconds but dropped back to a chasing group with Lars Boom, Paul Martens, Marco Marcato, Bjorn Leukemans and Sebastian Langeveld after Cancellara increased the pace.

In the final ten kilometers Boonen, Cancellara and Flecha had a save gap of over 40 seconds on the six chasers. Cancellara was the first to attack for the win within the final kilometre and it was immediately the decisive attack. Boonen counted on his sprint and on Flecha to bring Cancellara back, but the Spaniard wasn't able to do it. Boonen tried to bridge up to Cancellara himself but the Swiss machine created a convicing gap to take his second win of the season after the final ranking in the Tour of Oman.

Team reports
Saxo Bank: Fabian Cancellara Won E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke
Another Belgian semi classic was due today and Team Saxo Bank took another beautiful victory in the 203 kilometer long E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke.

The Danish squad was represented by both Fabian Cancellara and Kasper Klostergaard in the break escaping from the peloton with 40 kilometers to go. Only a few kilometers later, the Swiss time trial world champion accelerated on the cobble stoned surface exploding the group. Now, only Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) were in the lead of the race.

This group of pure dynamite denied all attempts of neutralization, mostly because of the bonecrushing work from Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara leaving his two followers in obvious pain.

Using only one powerful strike, Fabian Cancellera created the crucial gap and in spite of an attempt to close the gap from Tom Boonen (Quick Step), the Swiss could raise his arms and celebrate his win.

It was the third win in four days for Team Saxo Bank not counting Alex Rasmussen's World Championship in scratch race on Thursday.

“First I considered to make an early attack but I knew there was going to be headwind all the way in. On the other hand, I knew that both my opponents were fast sprinters so I decided to make my move on the final two kilometers which turned out to be the right decision. Torsten Schmidt told me to keep on going even though they were clearly gaining on me and I am now relieved that I didn't hesitate. I really appreciate this victory and I would like to thank the team for doing all the tough work before the final. This victory means that we all can take on Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix with less stress as both Matti and I participate with two fresh wins. Now, I am able to enjoy the next races even more”, said a delighted Fabian Cancellara after his magnificent victory.

And sports director, Torsten Schmidt can feel the victories having an important effect on the riders:

“All the favorites for the next races were here today so of course, the victory was a big and important result for Fabian and for the team. I clearly sense that the riders were taking on the race today with bigger passion and the moral within the squad is growing remarkably. It's been a very good week for us where we have been demonstrating great power and we have had the ability to make our moves at the right time”, said sports director Torsten Schmidt

BMC Racing Team: Burghardt Credits Teammates At E3 Prijs
Marcus Burghardt was in the thick of the action for the BMC Racing Team Saturday at the Belgian mini-classic E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke.

Well-Positioned Until The End
Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank) attacked breakaway companions Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Pro Cycling Team) to win solo. Burghardt made the split when Boonen attacked. The German credited his teammates for keeping him near the front during the 203 km race. “They did a really good job,” Burghardt said. “I had mostly good position, but at the third-to-last climb I no longer had enough power.” Karsten Kroon (30th) was the BMC Racing Team's best finisher.

Team Sky: Flecha powers onto podium
Juan Antonio Flecha reaffirmed his reputation as one of the world's best classics riders with a third-placed finish at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke.

The Argentina-born Spaniard broke free with Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara with just over 40km to go and the trio stayed together all the way into the destination town of Harelbeke.

It was Cancellara who timed his last move to perfection though by kicking again with just over one kilometre remaining, and despite Flecha's best efforts, he was unable to haul the Swiss champion back before the line and was narrowly pipped into second place by Boonen.

Earlier in the day, Chris Sutton had featured prominently in a 24-man escape which dominated the first half of the race, but the group's advantage had been hauled back to just over a minute by the time they made it to the first of 12 climbs which peppered the final 85km of the 210km route.

Sutton and his companions eventually relinquished their lead to four riders - Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack), Maxime Vantomme (Katusha), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) and Kasper Klostergård (Saxo Bank) - ahead of the steep ascent at Arenberg.

While that quartet set about extending their advantage, Boonen used the same climb to try and breach the gap, but Team Sky's riders were the first to react and Geraint Thomas led the re-shaped, smaller group ahead of the next climb on the Oude Kruiskens.

After lying in wait, Boonen attacked again on the fourth to last climb of the day - the Paterberg - and Flecha positioned himself cleverly in the gutter to avoid the cobbles as he kept pace with the Belgian, who already had Cancellara on his wheel.

That trio quickly joined the front four escapees and edged ahead on the brutish Kwaremont, which followed in quick succession. Only Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) dared to chase behind, but he was trailing by seven seconds at the summit.

Flecha found an uneasy truce with his two rivals as they worked together to hold off Pozzato's chase and closed in on the finish line. That continued until Cancellara launched his winning move with around 1400m to go. Flecha took up the chase 500m later after delaying with Boonen, but it proved too late to catch the Swiss at the line.

Mixed feelings for Flecha
After the race Flecha told Sporza TV: "I'm happy with how I have raced today but it's better when you win. In the end it was all about gambling, attacking, and Fabian proved to be the strongest.

"He was the first to attack, and when you're up against such a strong rider like that it's always hard to follow, but I did try when he went.

"I was expecting Tom to react but when I saw he didn't go right away, I thought 'OK I'm going to have to go then'. I tried to close the gap but then Tom missed the corner a little bit and Fabian got two bike lengths clear.

"You can't give someone like Fabian that type of advantage in the last kilometre."

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 4:44:34
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
3 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling Team
4 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha
5 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
6 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank
7 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
8 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
9 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
10 Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-Servetto
11 William Bonnet (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
12 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux
13 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step
15 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
16 Grégory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack
17 David Garcia Da Pena (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia
18 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini
19 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
20 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
21 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
22 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux
23 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
24 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
25 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly
26 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
27 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank
28 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
29 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
30 Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team
31 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank
32 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
33 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team
34 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha
35 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
36 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
37 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank
38 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank
39 Steve Houanard (Fra) Skil - Shimano
40 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step
41 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack
42 Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team
43 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
44 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Professional Cycling Team
45 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank
46 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha
47 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
48 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux
49 Steve Chainel (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
50 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
51 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team Radioshack
52 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step
53 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Katusha
54 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil - Shimano
55 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
56 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank
57 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
58 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
59 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team
60 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Team Katusha
61 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
62 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
63 Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
64 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team Radioshack
65 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team Katusha
66 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
67 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet
68 Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
69 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas Willems
70 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Verandas Willems
71 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
72 Mathieu Claude (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
73 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team
74 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team
75 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team Radioshack
76 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
77 Francisco Jose Pacheco Torres (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia
78 Gustavo Dominguez Lemos (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia
79 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
80 Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
81 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
82 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
83 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
84 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Footon-Servetto
85 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
86 Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
87 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
88 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
89 Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
90 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
91 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
92 Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
93 Dominic Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo Bank
94 Yohann Gene (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
95 Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
96 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step

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