- - E3 Saxo Classic 2024

E3 Saxo Classic 2024

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) claimed a stunning victory in today’s E3 Saxo Classic, after the Dutch rider went head-to-head with his chief rival Wout Van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) before commencing a powerful attack along the Paterberg with 43km to go.

Unfortunately, Van Aert was plagued by a crash just seconds after van der Poel attacked, leaving the Belgian rider struggling to remount and chase down his opponent. But, despite closing the gap to just 10 seconds, Van Aert lost his impetus, allowing van der Poel to steadily increase his advantage.

Adding insult to injury, Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) later caught Van Aert with 5km to go, beating him in the sprint to take second, later finishing a massive 1:31 down on van der Poel.

In the meantime, van der Poel had time trialed his way to the finish in Harelbeke to take his first win of the season in the rainbow jersey, making a big statement ahead of next month’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Race Highlights 

It wasn’t until the 120km mark that a breakaway group of 10 riders jettisoned the peloton, with van der Poel attempting to bridge his way to the leaders along the Taaienberg, only to be reeled back in by Lidl-Trek who was leading the chase.

Oier Lazkano was the next rider to attack along the Stationsberg sector, with the Spanish rider’s aggressions serving to reduce the break’s advantage to just 23 seconds. 

With 43km to go, the breakaway group was caught, with van der Poel later launching his winning move on the steepest section of the Paterberg. Meanwhile, Van Aert caught an uneven section in the road and crashed hard as the riders battled with the stress of van der Poel going clear. 

Van Aert got back on terms quickly, leading the chase effort in earnest along the Oude Kwaremont. 

But, despite a huge effort from the Visma-Lease a Bike rider, it proved to all be in vain as he struggled to cut into the sizable advantage that van der Poel had swiftly opened up. 

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