Flanders in its pure state again
28 March 2014

E3 Harelbeke

Movistar Team suffers ruthlessness of E3 Harelbeke with several crashes, after great attitude from Valverde and his team-mates prior to the finale

The Northern classics do not forgive anyone and it was the case for Movistar Team on today’s E3 Harelbeke (UCI WorldTour), the general rehearsal for next Sunday’s ‘De Ronde’ over a 212km parcours in the Flemish ardennes, full of ‘hellingen’ and cobbled sections. The telephone squad came into the race in good spirits after Alejandro Valverde’s prominent performance in Waregem last Wednesday, taking a more offensive role: controlling attacks after one of the key climbs, the Taaienberg, or even pushing hard at the front of the bunch before a crucial chain of ascents: the Paterberg and the Oude Kwaremont.

From that very point of the race, the Blues, ever attentive with Erviti, Sütterlin or Sanz, succumbed to crashes: twice for Ventoso and Lobato, once for Amador. Andrey and Fran would later join Valverde and Erviti into a second main bunch reaching the finish more than three minutes after the four victory contestants. Sagan (CAN), Terpstra (OPQ), Thomas (SKY) and Vandenbergh (OPQ) came across the finish in that order after several late attacks from the Omega duo, the field unable to reel them in even with a furious pursuit by Fabian Cancellara (TFR), also affected by mishaps.