Today's E3 Harelbeke race was truly Belgian classic worthy. The new race layout makes this the little brother of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (next week). Thus far the classic and semi classic season has been pleasant, but nothing like today's race. Omloop het Nieuwsblad lacked the big battle throughout. Brussel-Kuurne-Brussel at least had a big name winner, Tom Boonen. Strade Bianche provides for wonderful scenery, but lacked drama and mano-a-mano battle among the big guns, except at the very end in the streets of Siena.
The last 80 kilometers of the E3 Harelbeke classic provided a little bit of everything. The crashes on the small windy roads provided the initial drama. The race broke open right before the Paterberg. You had a bunch of big guns attacking in the front, while Cancellera was fighting his way back in the background, racing from group to group to rejoin the front. Boonen, Van Marcke and Van Avermaet only showed up from time to time in the second row. As the final four were racing to the finish line, Terpstra and Vanderbergh kept making it hard on Sagan with continuous attacks. Wonderful to watch. And at the end, Peter Sagan was the great winner.
If this is a precursor to next weekend, it will be fun.