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"I will go to Belgium with a great desire to perform well. I won the E3 Harelbeke last year and I will try to do the double this year. The cobblestone Classics kick off and I want to be ready."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo




26.03.2015 @ 21:11 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Peter Sagan is leading a Tinkoff-Saxo squad assembled to offer the Slovak champion support on the bumpy road to winning E3 Harelbeke for the second time in a row. However, the obstacles are numerous and come in the form of cobbles, bergs and tough competition, recognizes sports director Lars Michaelsen.


E3 Harelbeke, semi-classic and part of the World Tour, is by most considered as one of the toughest cobbled races of the season, only second to Paris-Roubaix and the much similar but longer Ronde van Vlaanderen. Last year, Peter Sagan was first to cross the finish line in Harelbeke and his ambition is to do so again.  


"I will go to Belgium with a great desire to perform well. I won the E3 Harelbeke last year and I will try to do the double this year. The cobblestone Classics kick off and I want to be ready”, says Sagan and adds:


“I focus on the Classics ahead and I feel very well and in very good form”.


Tinkoff-Saxo’s team for E3 Harelbeke is Peter Sagan, Matti Breschel, Maciej Bodnar, Michael Mørkøv, Matteo Tosatto, Nikolay Trusov, Michael Kolar and Pavel Brutt.


With the defending champion on the roster, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Lars Michaelsen agrees that the team will be at the start of E3 with ambitions. However, as with all cobbled races, it’s impossible to predict the outcome.


“We have last year’s winner on the team in the shape of Peter Sagan, so we ought to be one of the favorites. At the same time E3 Harelbeke is a very hard and challenging race. No doubt that Peter is in form, but we need to avoid crashes and then we have to cross our fingers and hope that the race develops in the right direction for us. We have a plan A and B but as we saw in Dwars door Vlaanderen, crashes and tactical deadlocks can throw a spanner in the works”, explains Lars Michaelsen.


E3 Harelbeke is, without doubt, more than a warm-up for Ronde van Vlaanderen. The big engines of the peloton are all vying for victory on the route, which features clusters of climb and cobbled sections such as the always decisive and dreaded Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. The 192 riders will have to tackle no less than 17 listed bergs, many of them on cobbles.


As the name denotes, the riders will start and finish in Harelbeke but visit cycling capitals such as Geraandsbergen and Oudenaarde along the way. According to Lars Michaelsen, real racing will commence after the first 100 relatively flat kilometers.


“The race tactics will come down to the constellation after 100km of fairly flat racing, where a break will most likely form. I expect Etixx-Quickstep to be very strong, so we have a group of riders, who’ll support Sagan and stay with him as long as possible. Guys like Bodnar, Breschel and Tosatto should play a key role here. A lot can happen in the last part of the race and this is where the game of tactics and constellations of the groups will impact the race heavily”, concludes Lars Michaelsen.


The Tinkoff-Saxo team for E3 Harelbeke:
Peter Sagan, Matti Breschel, Maciej Bodnar, Michael Mørkøv, Matteo Tosatto, Nikolay Trusov, Michael Kolar and Pavel Brutt



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