Cancellara stomps to superb solo victory in E3 Harelbeke
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Cancellara stomps to superb solo victory in E3 Harelbeke

by Shane Stokes at 2:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Race Reports and Results, E3-Prijs
Sagan can’t answer Oude Kwaremont attack, has to make do with second place

Fabian CancellaraBouncing back from the disappointment of his near-miss in Milan Sanremo, Fabian Cancellara left no doubts about who was strongest when he sped to a dominant solo victory in today’s E3 Harelbeke semi-Classic in Belgium.

Race winner in 2010 and 2011, Cancellara played his card on the Oude Kwaremont climb, 35 kilometres from the end. He accelerated on a cobbled sector to ride Peter Sagan (Cannondale) off his wheel, with the other riders in the move also simply unable to react.

Drawing steadily clear, the Swiss RadioShack rider eventually reached the line one minute and four seconds clear of Sagan, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team) and Geraint Thomas (Sky Pro Cycling), with Sebastian Langeveld (Orica GreenEdge) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma Quick Step) a further four seconds back.

Five time race winner Tom Boonen was unable to achieve his goal of taking another edition and instead led in a large chase group for seventh, two minutes 15 seconds behind Cancellara.

“I did my job, I did what I had to do," said a satisfied Cancellara afterwards. “When you are in good condition you have to go for it because you never know what will happen next. It’s important to carry on and finish the job. With the crash last year this is a very special moment for me. A big thank you to my wife and family and to the entire team for supporting me during this time.”

Cancellara had high hopes for last year’s Classics campaign but after winning the Strade Bianche and the time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico, he crashed heavily in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and suffered multiple fractures to his collarbone. It was the worst injury of his career and complicated the rest of his season, although he did return to win the Swiss TT title and the prologue of the Tour de France.

“You have to take it when you can as you never know what tomorrow brings,” he said, words no doubt influenced by what he went through last spring. “After my crash in Flanders last year this was my first race on this special ground. I saw that there were many Omega Pharma-QuickSteps in the front, so I decided to try something.

“I went alone and Dirk Demol kept telling me 'keep on going'. It was a so hard but such a unique experience. Many things crossed my mind. This is a great win for me and for the team. Anything that will come now is a bonus. Also I send best wishes to Eddy Merckx who is in the hospital now [to have a pacemaker fitted – ed.].”

Boonen had tried to stamp his authority on the race, accelerating on the Taaienberg climb. This move dragged seven others clear, including Cancellara, but things came back together again. Boonen surged again on Paterberg and forced another selection, with Sagan amongst the others who were also in the move.

However when it got to the Oude Kwaremont, there was no answer to Cancellara’s strength and he was able to rocket clear and solo to an impressive success.

How it played out:

Riding in warmer conditions than many of the bunch encountered in last Sunday’s Milan-Sanremo, it took an hour and a half for the first big break to be established. Approximately 70 kilometres after the start, six riders raced clear; those present were Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM), Koen Barbé (Crelan-Euphony), Movistar’s Eloy Teruel. Anders Lund (Saxo-Tinkoff), Astana rider Ruslan Tleubayev and Stefan van Dijk (Accent Jobs-Wanty).

This group build a lead of three minutes but broke apart on the short, sharp climbs which peppered the route. Teruel, Lund and Barbé pushed ahead on the Boigneberg but were reeled in after the climb of the Stationsberg.

Once onto the Taaienberg, Boonen hit the jets and dragged Jurgen Roelandts clear. They were in turn joined by Cancellara, Sky’s Matthew Hayman and Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), then afterwards Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, Blanco’s Sep Vanmarcke and Daniel Oss got across.

Vanmarcke didn’t last long, though, and that left seven out front.

This group swelled to eleven when Europcar rider Vincent Jerome, Blanco’s Lars Boom, Orica GreenEdge’s Sebastian Langeveld and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma Quick Step) bridged across, just over 50 kilometres from the end.

Behind, Sagan’s team chased hard to keep him in contact and eventually brought the chasing group up to the leaders. That plus a subsequent acceleration reshuffled the leading group, enabling Cancellara, Boonen, Sagan, Thomas, Oss, Roelandts, Sebastien Langeveld, Vandenbergh, Stybar and several others to push ahead.

Movistar’s Andrey Amador and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) managed to bridge across, but the unity of the group was blitzed when Cancellara made his move halfway up the Oude Kwaremont and rocketed clear.

“It was intuition to go on the Oude Kwaremont and just see if I could break down the group a little more,” said Cancellara. “We knew the Oude Kwaremont was an important key in the race, as it will be in the Tour of Flanders, as we watched some days ago the finale of E3 of 2011 and 2012 on the computer. Also this is part of the preparation for the race."

The acceleration saw Boonen and others slip back, while a reshuffling of sorts occurred and Chavanel joined those chasing hard.

That group couldn’t make any lasting inroads, though, and Cancellara soloed in over a minute ahead, grabbing his first win of the season and marking himself out as one to watch in the Northern Classics of Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Before then, he’ll ride Gent Wevelgem on Sunday.

“Will I be picked as the favorite now for Flanders and Roubaix? That's life,” he said. “The most important goals are indeed still coming but let's celebrate first. We worked months for this.”

He said it takes pressure off heading on from this point. “Now I can tackle the other races in a more relaxed way. I feel renewed confidence with this win but also renewed pressure as well. In the end it’s a victory and I know I’ve done my job.”

E3 Prijs - Harelbeke (WorldTour):

1, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) 211 kilometres in 5 hours 8 mins 28 secs
2, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 1 min 4 secs
3, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team)
4, Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling)
5, Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge) at 1 min 8 secs
6, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
7, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team) at 2 mins 15 secs
8, Luca Paolini (Katusha)
9, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling)
10, Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar)
11, Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling)
12, Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana Pro Team)
13, Yoann Offredo (FDJ)
14, Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Movistar Team)
15, Grega Bole (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
16, Michael Schär (BMC Racing Team)
17, Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Movistar Team)
18, Bertjan Lindeman (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
19, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
20, Kristijan Koren (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
21, Grégory Rast (RadioShack Leopard)
22, Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ)
23, Ian Stannard (Sky Procycling)
24, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team)
25, Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
26, Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida)
27, Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling)
28, Mathew Hayman (Sky Procycling)
29, Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard)
30, Andriy Grivko (Astana Pro Team)
31, Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
32, Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling)
33, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp)
34, Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team)
35, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
36, Bernhard Eisel (Sky Procycling) at 2 mins 27 secs
37, Marco Bandiera (IAM Cycling) at 2 mins 35 secs
38, Dmitriy Muravyev (Astana Pro Team)
39, David Boucher (FDJ) at 3 mins 0 secs
40, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team) at 4 mins 5 secs
41, Vincent Jerome (Team Europcar) at 4 mins 28 secs
42, Luka Mezgec (Team Argos-Shimano) at 5 mins 11 secs
43, Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
44, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
45, Nico Sijmens (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
46, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team)
47, Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony)
48, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
49, Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
50, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
51, Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
52, Matti Breschel (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
53, Vladimir Gusev (Katusha)
54, Xavier Florencio Cabre (Katusha)
55, Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
56, Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
57, Sébastien Minard (Ag2R La Mondiale)
58, Maarten Wynants (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
59, David Veilleux (Team Europcar)
60, Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol)
61, Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
62, Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
63, Arnaud Labbe (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
64, Alexey Tsatevitch (Katusha) at 9 mins 1 secs
65, John Degenkolb (Team Argos-Shimano)
66, Elia Viviani (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 9 mins 46 secs
67, Julien Fouchard (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
68, Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard)
69, Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Belisol)
70, Luke Rowe (Sky Procycling)
71, Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto Belisol)
72, Danilo Hondo (RadioShack Leopard)
73, Stuart O'grady (Orica-GreenEdge)
74, William Bonnet (FDJ)
75, Jerome Cousin (Team Europcar)
76, Andreas Klier (Garmin-Sharp)
77, Gabriel Rasch (Sky Procycling)
78, Kurt Hovelijnck (Crelan-Euphony)
79, Frederik Willems (Lotto Belisol)
80, Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing Team)
81, Debusschere Jens (Lotto Belisol)
82, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
83, Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-GreenEdge) at 12 mins 15 secs
84, Anders Lund (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 12 mins 16 secs
85, Tomas Vaitkus (Orica-GreenEdge)
86, Matteo Tosatto (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
87, Steve Chainel (Ag2R La Mondiale)
88, Damien Gaudin (Team Europcar)
89, Florent Barle (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
90, Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
91, Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
92, Adrien Petit (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
93, Massimo Graziato (Lampre-Merida)
94, Gilles Devillers (Crelan-Euphony) at 12 mins 41 secs
95, Klaas Sys (Crelan-Euphony)
96, Koen Barbe (Crelan-Euphony)
97, Hugo Houle (Ag2R La Mondiale) at 12 mins 46 secs
98, Christopher Juul Jensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)

Did not start:

Bjorn Thurau (Team Europcar)
Egidijus Juodvalkis (Crelan-Euphony)
Lloyd Mondory (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard)

Did not finish:

Adrian Saez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge)
Alan Marangoni (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida)
Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team)
Alexander Serebryakov (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha)
Andrea Palini (Lampre-Merida)
Assan Bazayev (Astana Pro Team)
Benjamin Verraes (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Bert De Backer (Team Argos-Shimano)
Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team)
Daniele Bennati (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
Danilo Napolitano (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)
David Tanner (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Davide Appollonio (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)
Davide Vigano (Lampre-Merida)
Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana Pro Team)
Dominic Klemme (IAM Cycling)
Dominique Rollin (FDJ)
Edward King (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida)
Eliot Lietaer (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Eloy Teruel Rovira (Movistar Team)
Enrique Sanz (Movistar Team)
Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Gedimias Bagdonas (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ)
Gert Joeaar (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team)
Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana Pro Team)
James Vanlandschoot (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Jean-Pierre Drucker (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge)
Jesse Sergent (RadioShack Leopard)
Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar Team)
Johan Le Bon (FDJ)
Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
Jos Van Emden (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol)
Kevin Claeys (Crelan-Euphony)
Klaas Lodewyck (BMC Racing Team)
Koen De Kort (Team Argos-Shimano)
Kristof Goddaert (IAM Cycling)
Lars Boom (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge)
Mark Renshaw (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Markel Irizar Aranburu (RadioShack Leopard)
Marko Kump (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Sharp)
Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida)
Mauro Da Dalto (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Michael Morkov (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
Morgan Lamoisson (Team Europcar)
Murilo Antonio Fischer (FDJ)
Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp)
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Nikias Arndt (Team Argos-Shimano)
Peio Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling)
Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Ramon Sinkeldam (Team Argos-Shimano)
Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp)
Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Team Argos-Shimano)
Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling)
Rick Flens (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Roy Jans (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Rudiger Selig (Katusha)
Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana Pro Team)
Salvatore Puccio (Sky Procycling)
Sébastien Delfosse (Crelan-Euphony)
Sebastien Rosseler (Garmin-Sharp)
Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Stefan Van Dijk (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Steffen Radochla (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team)
Tim De Troyer (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Tom Stamsnijder (Team Argos-Shimano)
Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Belisol)
Valentin Iglinskiy (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha)
Vicente Reynes Mimo (Lotto Belisol)
Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha)
Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Yohann Gene (Team Europcar)
Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)


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