Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was able to out muscle Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) and Gereint Thomas (Team Sky) respectively to take the victory at the E3 Harelbeke today. The Slovakian rider would bridge across to Thomas, Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) after the Team Sky rider attacked with 25km to go. The quartet had enough fire power to hold off the group of favourites and decide the win between each other.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung started the day of superbly when Jay Thomson showed some really fine strength to get into the main break of the day after just 20km of racing. Thomson would spend the next 140km out front with 4 other riders before being caught by a select group of 19 strong men in the first chase group.
This chase group was formed after numerous crashes split the peloton in and amongst the 17 Hellingen climbs on route, thinning out the peloton drastically. Gerald Ciolek, Andreas Stauff, Johann van Zyl and Songezo Jim were all casualties of the crashes. Ignatas Konovalovas was on an exceptionally good day though and the Lithuanian formed part of this 19 man group.
After being distanced twice by the main chase group due to the incessant attacking in the final 25km’s, Konovalovas was remarkably able to claw his way back each time, even while multiple World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was the rider setting the pace.
Rider – Ignatas Konovalovas
“The race in general was very nervous with lots of crashes, even at the front of the peloton. As we saw that we had lost Gerald to a crash I took responsibility because I personally I was feeling very strong today.
I made a slight mistake on the Kwaremont when I reacted too late to the move in front and had to use all of my energy there to get back. I am happy with my performance and we have some nice races coming up like on Sunday, the Gent-Wevelgem where we will ride for Gerald.”
Rider – Jay Thomson
“It was a pity I had a bad moment at the wrong time on the Paterberg. It could have been possible to make the front group as well but in the end, it was a good day.”
Directeur Sportif – Jens Zemke
“It was a good day. First Jay made a fantastic move to bridge over to the 4 leaders. From 20km till 160km Jay was in the lead and had a gap of 8 minutes at one stage. Then it was also a nice ride from Ignatas to be up with all the big guys and fighting for a good result. Finally he got cramps but he did an amazing ride today.
Unfortunately, and once again, Gerald and Andy were involved in a crash. Johann and Songezo waited with them but none of them could make it back and were all out of contention.”
Staff: Michel Cornelisse (Sports Director), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Ian Blackburn (Soigneur), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic), Werner Lenk (Mechanic), Stevie Christaens (Mechanic)