Following a very animated Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, Record Bank E3-Harelbeke turned out to be another cobble classic opening up very early, delivering a thrilling race for riders, fans and viewers alike.
DS Ken Vanmarcke looks back on the ‘little brother’ of the Tour of Flanders, which in no way does justice to the tough race E3-Harelbeke is.
“I’m very proud of what we saw. It’s a very strong team and everybody really did the effort they had to do. They did their job perfect.”
“There were several times in the race I was really proud of our riders, but what Tom Van Asbroeck did [to get Sep Vanmarcke to the lead group] was just world class, because it’s mentally very hard to drop yourself when you’re already at the limit and you know you have to go above the limit to bring your leader to the front. So that was really amazing what he did.”
“But also all the other riders did an amazing job. Working for Sep and then working in the final to get a result.”
In the run-in to the line, Vanmarcke was surrounded by Dylan van Baarle, Sebastian Langeveld and Alberto Bettiol in the first peloton on the road, behind three leaders and two chasers. Vanmarcke not being 100% fit, the others went for their own results, Van Baarle getting away with ninth and Bettiol with tenth.
“Wednesdays eighth place finish at Dwars door Vlaanderen gave me confidence at E3-Harelbeke,” said Van Baarle. “So I sprinted again, this time getting ninth. I can be happy with today. A third chance on Sunday.”