29/03/19 - 10:21 PM
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Road race - Men
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E3 BinckBank Classic • Stage1
avant-match

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Road race - Men
E3 BinckBank Classic - 29 March 2019

E3 BinckBank Classic – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 22:21 on 29 March 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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A full report of the day's action can be found here: https://www.eurosport.co.uk/cycling/e3-harelbeke/2019/zdenek-stybar-wins-e3-binckbank-classic_sto7205803/story.shtml

 

Can anybody stop the men in blue this year?

 

Deceuninck played that to perfection in the end.

 

Zdenek Stybar wins the E3 Classic!

 

Stybar comes around him!

 

GVA goes early!

 

Van Aert takes some big gulps of air.

 

Jungels leads them out. GVA in 2nd wheel

 

It's going to be a sprint... after 203.9km and a 55km break

 

Bobarus! Jungels is back from the dead...

 

Flamme Rouge!

 

Van Aert looks brilliant here.

 

Or can they....

 

The attack doesn't stick from Stybar. Deceuninck can't possibly throw this away...

 

Stybar goes agaiin, Jungels can't follow.

2km 

Wow this is tense - you have to back Stybar.

 

That didn't last long. All five riders are together again...

 

Jungels attacks!

3km 

Van Aert covered that move from Stybar easily.

 

Stybar attacks!

 

The leaders are about 1km ahead of the Naesen / Trentin group.

 

Five kilometres to go and we have five leaders. Jungels, Stybar, Van Avermaet, Van Aert and Bettiol.

6km 

The chasing group is now the front group. Jungels is trying to sit in. Stybar takes his first turn of the day.

7km 

This is incredible defiance from Jungels. They're so close they could almost reach out and touch him, but still he's persisting.

9km

Jungels stands up out of the saddle and gives it one last kick. Is his goose cooked? It certainly seems so...

10km 

In the final 10km now and Jungels' gap is a scant 10 seconds!

 

Since the sprocket fiddle, Sagan looks spritelier. Was it his bike that let him down when he was dropped?

 

Back in group 3, a man is sticking his finger in Peter Sagan's gears while leaning out of the window of a moving car.

 

Meanwhile, this tweet I sent 20 minutes ago is really aging poorly...

15km 

The lead is a mere 11 seconds now and they can clearly see Jungels up the road.

 

This is perfect for Deceuninck. Their man, Stybar, is getting the free-est of free rides in the chasing group.

 

15 seconds ahead, Jungels has adopted an aero tuck but he looks like he's really hurting now. Bettiol takes a pull in the group behind.

 

Wow, Van Avermaet and Van Aert have brought Jungels' group down to 15 seconds.

 

Stybar is sitting in this group. Also there is Bettiol and Wout Van Aert. Van Aert is helping Van Avermaet to pull.

17km 

Sagan has joined the group behind, but the middle chasing quartet led by Van Avermaet continues to motor.

 

Jungels' gap is 25 seconds now. all of a sudden it looks doable again - but how long can Van Avermaet work like this?

 

It was a huge turn from Van Avermaet that dislodged his old rival. The Belgian is now forging into the gap to Jungels. This may not be over after all.

 

Sagan has been dropped!

21km 

Magnus Cort and his superb beard are at the front of the peloton. The chase, for the, is hopeless.

 

Oh look, a statistic!

 

There are 11 pursuers now, about six of whom may actually be minded to chase this down. Expect Hirschi, Sutterlin, Politt and Jungel's team mate Stybar to glasscrank their way to the line.

23km 

The Sagan/Van Avermaet octet are catching Politt, Hirschi and Sutterlin, while Jungels has hit the final stretch of cobbles.

25km 

Business as usual here, with a group of potential winners looking at one another while the race disappears up the road with Deceuninck.

 

It's Jungels, then the last smashed up bits of the break, then 44seconds behind we have that super octet. One more berg!

 

As he hits the Karnemelkbeekstraat, Bob Jungels hits the jets and quickly dispenses with the other three riders in the break. He really is very, very good at this.

30km 

The group behind in full is Sagan, Trentin, Van Avermaet, Van Aert, Naesen, Stybar, Keukeleire and Bettiol. This is a super group of Traveling Wilbury's proportions

 

Two more climbs remaining, followed by a 20km smash into Harelbeke for the finish. Neither the Karnemelkbeekstraat or the Tiegemberg are as severe as the Kwaremont. It's looking better and better for Jungels and co.

 

Up front, Politt refuses to take a turn. Which is something he is quite good at.

 

Naesen is also there with them.

 

Van Avermaet, Trentin, Van Aert and Bettiol are part of a small elite group of about 8 riders.

36km 

Jungels leads the front four off the Kwaremont.

 

Alberto Bettiol is flying along now, given a free ride after his leader Sep Vanmarcke crashed out earlier.

 

There isn't much of a peloton left now as the break reach the steepest part of the Kwaremont.

 

Jempy Drucker is off his bike. Looks like a flat tyre. Terrible timing for Bora.

 

Keukeleire of Lotto Soudal is putting the other favourites in difficulty.

 

We've seen an attack behind from a CCC rider!

 

It's Politt, Sutterlin and Marc Hirschi together with Jungels.

38km 

Jungels is growing that gap and has shaken free all but one of the original breakaway. They have 55 seconds as they hit the Oude Kwaremont

 

Greg Van Avermaet leads the strong men up the climb.

42km 

Paterberg, here we go!

 

Ian Stannard, who has been looking his pugnacious best up till now, has pulled over with a mechanical. We'll see if he can get back in.

 

Van Avermaet and Trentin both have a team mate on the front of the peloton. Sagan lurks in 5th wheel.

 

Sutterlin and Politt could make the junction with the Jungels group soon. The break has 36".

50km 

The briefest of pauses in the action, as the peloton seemingly discusses whose job it is to peg back Jungels.

 

Nils Politt (Katusha) and Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar) are having a competition to see who can waggle their elbows most extravagantly. They are in no man's land between the lead group with Jungels in and the peloton.

 

The next climbs to come are the Kapelberg, the Paterberg and then the Oude Kwaremont, all in the next 10-12km.

 

Ballerini's micro-escape has been brought back.

 

The distance between the peloton and the break is tiny now, but Jungels has firmly taken up residence in the cottage of wattage and shows no sign of slowing.

 

Davide Ballerini attacks from the peloton. The gap is 27 seconds.

55km 

Bob Jungels has caught the breakaway! They will sit on his wheel now for as long as they can and hope he'll pull them to the finish.

 

Bob Jungels won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with a move exactly like this, don't forget... he's a fantastic time triallist and could easily carry this all the way to the line.

 

The break are giving it one last go - perhaps they have been warned about the charging Super Bobby Jungels behind them. 20 seconds.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen looks to have popped badly there, the effort of getting back into touch proving too much. Bob Jungels, meanwhile, has launched a solo attack!

60km 

We're passed the magic 'Gilbert marker' now, the furthest out you might reasonably still expect a winning move to come from...

 

Painfully slow wheel change for Stijn Vandenbergh, courtesy of his team mate.

 

Peloton is just 38 seconds behind the break.

 

Zdenek Stybar is the Deceuninck man who began by forcing this move.

 

Greg Van Avermaet is right up at the front doing his hurtyface.

65km 

Deceunick are putting everyone in the paincave right now.

 

The two groups behind the break are now one again, but it's extremely strung-out thanks to repeated attacks off the front.

 

All these movements within the peloton have clipped the break's advantage down to 1'37". They may not survive to see the other side of the Paterberg.

70km 

25km to the Paterberg! And a bike change for big angry Marcus Burghardt.

 

EBH is back in the peloton, but the bunch itself is looking really sluggish. They seem almost happy to let the race disappear up the road. CCC Team are no longer chasing back.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen has a bike change. It's far enough out that he can make it back to the bunch, but he could do without this sort of energy expenditure.

 

Team CCC are working hard to close the gap from the peloton back to the 40-strong favourites group. It's possible their man Van Avermaet missed the move or was distanced on the Taaienberg.

 

This Kuznetsov / Vanbilsen move is not long for this world...

 

As predicted, the Taaienvberg has blown things apart. We've about 40 riders together in the group of favourites, lead by Oss and containing Van Avermaet & Sagan. They are easing up and the strung out line of riders behind is coming back into contact.

 

Wow, that was raw power from Van Aert. Oss controls things now as he leads the favourites over the crest.

 

He's quickly overtaken by a marauding Wout Van Aert. On his wheel is Daniel Oss.

 

And Sagan hits the front now as they make their way onto the cobbles!

 

Bora Hansgrohe are extremely prominent at the head of the peloton going into the Taaienberg. Sagan is in about 8th wheel. Matteo Trentin is there too.

 

The break is on the cobbled Taaienberg, which maxes at 18% gradient. It hurts me just to watch this!

 

In about a kilometre's time we'll hit the Taaienberg, and that is when things get real.

81km 

Another attack now, this time Kenneth Vanbilsen of Cofidis and another Katusha rider, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, have skipped away on the bottom of the Kortekeer. They have 20 seconds on the bunch.

 

The breakaway is on the Kortekeer. They have 2'47" on the peloton. Meanwhile, there's another crash behind and this time two CCC riders have gone down - not Greg Van Avermaet, though.

 

I think it's very unlikely Vanmarcke will be getting back up today. He's on the deck and staying there.

 

Crash! And it's that man Sep Vanmarcke who is down in a ditch.

 

Lukas Spengler has pulled up with a mechanical. He didn't look particularly bothered. I'm sure his Wallonie-Bruxelles team car will be along shortly.

 

Andy wants a John Degenkolb win today - and he's not the only one. The unlucky German who now races for Trek Segafredo, has endeared himself to many fans over the years. He's a genuine contender today if he can keep it rubber side down.

91km 

Owain Doull takes a musette at the top of the Hotondberg. His presence on the nose of the bunch suggest he may be working for somebody else today.

 

And that time gap to Marco Haller has reappeared. He's now a minute ahead of the bunch. Haller rides for the unhappiest squad in world cycling, Katusha, who could dearly do with a win soon.

 

Hot dog! The peloton is on the Hotondberg.

 

Team SKY are prominently placed near the head of proceedings. They have a couple of cards they might play today, with Owain Doull capable of mixing it in a reduced sprint, and Luke Rowe having a frankly amazing season so far. You might remember him gleefully tearing the peloton to bits earlier this month at Paris-Nice.

95km 

Well, that was an enjoyable, if brief, sortie from Haller. He appears to be back in the bosom of mother peloton. UAE Emirates meanwhile are up the front.

98km 

Ooh now this is fun. We have a 'group' in the gap between the escape and the peloton. It's Marco Haller and he is 30 seconds in front of the bunch. This would be a remarkably long way out to go from...

 

That gap continues to melt away as the peloton piles on the pressure. There has been plenty of looking around up to now, but as the race enters the serious phase the big teams are taking up their cudgels. 3'10" the gap.

 

There will certainly be a few Italian's cheering if Daniel 'The Rockstar' Oss can make a beautiful victory today.

 

De Winter Is Coming... to the front of the break to take his turn.

 

Reading between the lines, I'm going to assume Josh is of Welsh extraction...

 

As the break begins to tackle this sequence of climbs, their lead immediately begins to tumble. They're at 4'20" now, after at one stage being six minutes up the road. The peloton is stirring to life.

 

So then... who would you like to win today?

 

Here's a look at the full running order of the climbs. The key ones are the Taaienberg at 80km to go and the Oude Kwaremont at 40km to go.

 

You might remember the Oude Kwaremont, which features later today, playing a significant role in the 2017 Tour of Flanders when Peter Sagan crashed out after becoming entangled in a fan's rain coat.

Crowd control is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in pro cycling, one that was discussed in Episode 1 of The Bradley Wiggins Show. Catch up with that here.

 

Last year, Aksel Nommela won the Grand Prix Albert Fauville - Baulet. It's fair to say that if he were to win today from the breakaway, it would trump his previous best result by quite some margin.

 

The break is about to tackle La Houppe, the day's second climb. After that we'll have a flurry of five more bergs in the space of 25km - and that's where we should see things begin to disintegrate.

 

The eight men up-front are motoring along, looking smooth fresh and focused.

 

The peloton seem totally content to let the break build its advantage. It's up to 5'00" now.

 

Mikhel Raim and Aksel Nommela are both Estonian, making the breakaway 25% Estonian today. Is this the highest concentration of riders from that country we've ever seen in a WorldTour race? Who knows. Virtually impossible to find out. As you were.

 

The racers will tackle 15 bergs today, including the legendary Oude Kwaremont, which always provides a hefty dollop of excitement. It comes with 40km to go and will blow anything that remains of the peloton into little teeny pieces.

130km 

The break is at 4'00" now, they're chugging merrily along. Dare they dream? No. They dare not.

 

And that really is the question, isn't it? Deceuninck - Quick Step have been incredibly dominant this season so far, hoovering up 19 victories already, including five one-day classics.

 

Yesterday we brought you the Women's WorldTour race, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, which was won by Kirsten Wild. The race also featured this rather spectacular hulk-out from Italian, Elisa Longo Borghini.

 

Here's Sep Vanmarcke explaining, in Flemish, that he reckons today will be a bit chaotic. Sep knows about these things, so I'd be inclined to believe him.

145km 

No disrespect to Senor Castrillo and co, but I don't rate their chances.

 

Here are your big brave breakaway boys: Jaime Castrillo (Movistar Team), Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb), Stijn Steels (Roompot-Charles), Ludwig De Winter (Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team), Mihkel Räim (Israel Cycling Academy), Aksel Nommela (Wallonie Bruxelles), Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Lionel Taminiaux (Wallonie Bruxelles)

150km 

In E3, meanwhile, I can tell you there's a breakaway up the road full of men with unpronounceable names. there are eight of them and they have more than 2 minutes of advantage. They have 157km to go.

 

With about an hour until we get the first live pictures of the race and if you haven't yet, now would be the perfect time to catch up with the second episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show, in which the yellow jersey-winning, Olympic gold-hoarding, 'just-a-lad-from-Kilburn' goes deep into the art of classics racing - ably assisted by Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt.

 

The main favourites for today, other than Terpstra, are Oliver Naesen (AG2R), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) and Tiesj Benoot. That being said, it's a brutally hard and chaotic race and there are plenty who will fancy their chances of nicking a major classic win.

 

Terpstra will be one to watch today, certainly, but he's riding on a weaker team this season after jumping from the Deceuninck ship and joining second-tier French team, Direct Energie.

He'll be keen to deliver a win for his new team, but will to beat the best classics riders in the world right now to do it. And that's not just his old team-mates.

 

E3 is a race in much the same vein as the more feted Monument, the Tour of Flanders, and has provided the perfect warm-up for the biggie on several occasions. If you go well on the E3 course, which uses many of the same climbs as the Ronde, then you're likely to go well the following weekend. Indeed, reigning E3 champ Niki Terpstra went on to use his victory here as a springboard to take Flanders too in 2018 - a feat also achieved by legends like Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen and Peter Van Petegem.

 

It's me, Tom Owen, in the hotseat today and you can send me your thoughts, feelings and emotions via Twitter @tomowencc...

 

Good afternoon cobble fans and welcome to our live blog for the E3 BinckBank Classic!