E3 Saxo Classic

The E3 Saxo Classic, known by various names including E3 BinckBank Classic and E3 Harelbeke, is an esteemed annual road cycling race in Flanders, Belgium. The race, which begins and concludes in Harelbeke, spans around 203 kilometers, mainly traversing the challenging terrain of the Flemish Ardennes. Established in 1958, this event has grown into a key fixture in the cycling world, especially recognized for its demanding cobbled climbs and strategic significance as a precursor to the Tour of Flanders.

The race is distinguished by its rigorous course, featuring a series of short, sharp ascents, predominantly in the latter half of the route. These include the notorious climbs of Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont, and Karnemelkbeekstraat, pivotal points where the race often decisively unfolds. The course epitomizes the quintessential Flemish racing style, with cobbles, steep gradients, and winding roads, presenting a formidable challenge that mirrors the conditions of the more renowned Tour of Flanders.

The E3 Saxo Classic has been illuminated by several riders who have achieved multiple victories, marking their dominance in this prestigious race. Tom Boonen of Belgium leads the honor roll with an impressive five wins, recorded in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012. Following him is the legendary Rik Van Looy, also from Belgium, with four victories spanning the 1960s. Dutch rider Jan Raas and Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara both have claimed the title three times, with Raas's victories in the late 1970s and Cancellara's spanning from 2010 to 2013.

The 66th edition of the E3 Saxo Classic will take place on Friday, March 22, featuring a route very similar to last year's. The race will include 17 hills and 9 cobbled sections over its 207 kilometers, with the Ellestraat being the main new addition, replacing the Eikenberg. Traditional climbs such as La Houpe, Kanarieberg, Oude Kruisberg, Kortekeer, Taienberg, Boigneberg, Paterberg, and Oude Kwaremont are retained.

Recent winners of the E3 Saxo Classic

 2023 Wout van Aert
2022 Wout van Aert
2021 Kasper Asgreen
2020 No race due to pandemic
2019 Zdeněk Štybar
2018 Niki Terpstra
2017 Greg Van Avermaet
2016 Michał Kwiatkowski
2015 Geraint Thomas

E3 Saxo Classic News

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