The Cobblestone Classics commence as today the 59th edition of E3 Harelbeke will take place in Belgium. The race will certainly be an indicator of riders` form for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, while it`s a very tough race on its own.
The 2014 winner Peter Sagan will contest the 206.4 KM race hoping to win his first race in the World Champion stripes. After finishing 4th in Strade Bianche and 12th in Milano Sanremo, Sagan will be leading a team of eight riders over the tricky climbs and cobblestones sectors.
Peter himself believes in his chances, saying: “E3 Harelbeke is a completely different race to Milano-Sanremo, but I believe that finally everything will unfold in my favor. This race will not be easy for the sprinters, and the profile of E3 Harelbeke suits me more – I showed this in winning the race in 2014.”
The Slovak will also count on his team, part of which is his brother Juraj: “As well as the performance, a smart head will also undoubtedly play a key role. There will be very strong competition and we obviously cannot underestimate anyone. However, I know that I can count on a strong team around me. I’m looking forward to this race, and what’s more I will also race with my brother after some time.”
Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, sees the race as a key element of the team’s preparation for the remaining classics. “We sometimes call E3 Harelbeke the mini Tour of Flanders because of its tough parcours and you often see all the guys for Flanders will have a big test at E3. In his build up to the big classics, Peter Sagan will be our leader here.”
Most of the team helping Sagan has already raced with him this season and this will play a role. The likes of Gatto, Jay McCarthy and Adam Blythe will be there to help him.
Tinkoff-Saxo team for E3 Harelbeke: Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Adam Blythe, Oscar Gatto, Michael Gogl, Jay McCarthy, Juraj Sagan, and Nikolay Trusov.
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