I’m a big fan of the Belgain race. I remember it was one of the first races I watched live on Eurosport. That day in 2014 Peter Sagan, beat Geraint Thomas, Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh in a reduced sprint. I love the classics. Last year saw the battle between Sagan and Cancellara! This year Greg Van Avermaet has stepped up to be the Slovakians main challenger.
E3 Harelbeke starts and finishes in the same city. It is a very unique course, which contributes to the unpredictability of the races outcome.
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Peter Sagan 🇸🇰 (Bora – Hansgrohe)
The World Champion is the man to beat. The voodoo surrounding Sagan’s near misses seemingly has disappeared. Sagan is a cycling freak! I predict he will kick start his Classic’s campaign with a victory at the 2017 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. This year is his first campaign with a team build around/by him. Although he probably could free-wheel his way to victory without any support of a team.
ONES TO WATCH
Greg Van Avermaet 🇧🇪 (BMC Racing Team)
I predict a close second for GVA. His form in the last few years has been very impressive. A true classic specialist. After the loss of Cancellara to the sport and the upcoming departure of Tom Boonen. Sagan and Van Avermaet’s rivalry could become a common theme for the foreseeable future in the classics.
Jasper Stuyven 🇧🇪 (Trek-Segafredo)
Filling the gap left by Cancellarra was a massive challenge. Stuyven has stepped up commendably. His best finish this year was 2nd at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Just behind World Champ Sagan.
Niki Terpstra 🇳🇱 (Quick-Step Floors)
He’s become a little bit more of a super domestique in the classics for QuickStep this year. This isn’t a surprise looking over the Quick-Step Floors roster. A little like Stijn Vandenbergh in the later stages of his time with the Belgian outfit. Terpstra is undoubtedly class, and could find himself in the winning move.
Luke Rowe 🇬🇧 (Team Sky) The welshman has shown some very impressive early season form with Team Sky. His podium at KBK was a big show of intent. Team Sky will be in the mix towards the end, and Rowe could be just the candidate. Oliver Naesen 🇧🇪 (AG2R La Mondiale) A little bit of an outsider the former IAM rider has all the capabilities to make it as a classics specialist, he would defiantly have the element of surprise ! Sep Vanmarcke 🇧🇪 (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) Unlike Naesen, their will be no element of surprise with the unluckiest man in modern day classic cycling. Coudl Vanmarcke take the victory? I predict another strong top 10 finish. Finally Bryan Coquard 🇫🇷 (Direct Energie) Although a sprinter, Coquard is made of tough stuff if he finds himself in a select group, there will not be many faster. Scary to think he is still only 24, he has seemingly been around for ages!
MY FANTASY TEAM (Purist)
I’ve managed to accommodate all my selections for E3: Sagan, GVA, VAnmarcke, Stuyven, Rowe, Coquard, Naesen and Terpstra.
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