Greg van Avermaet’s (BMC Racing) excellent season continued today as he won the E3 Harelbeke from a three man sprint. Phillipe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) were the two riders who had to settle for the minor podium placings. With 15 hellingen and 5 cobble sectors squeezed into just 206km of racing, the E3 Harelbeke was always going to be a race that exposed any sort of weakness or misfortune. As the most pivotal points of the race loomed, the fight for position was intense and on the small roads, crashes were inevitable. Just before the race reached the Taaienberg with 70km.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the Queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya by out-climbing Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo). The Movistar rider not only took the stage victory but the overall race lead too. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka always knew it was going to be difficult to get much out of today’s stage with the main GC riders all targeting today’s tough final climb. Our attempts to make it into the early breakaway proved to be fruitless as everything was chased down in the opening hour of racing. Even when a group did get away, the teams of the GC favourites.
Tom Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac) won stage 2 of the Coppi e Bartali, arriving at the finish a few seconds ahead of Arnold Jeannesson (Fortuneao-Vital Concept) and Matteo Busato (Willier). The 130km 2nd stage of the Coppi e Bartali suited the climbers with a tough climb that needed to be completed 3 times before descending to the finish in Sogliano sul Rubicone. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a clear plan for the stage, and that was to make the stage as hard as possible so that Merhawi Kudus could then attack a smaller group on the final climb. Our African Team did just about everything perfectly,.