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E3 Harelbeke 2018 odds

Who wins E3 Harelbeke 2018?

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E3 Harelbeke 2018

The 61st year of E3 Harelbeke takes place on Friday 23rd March 2018, and is the tenth event on the UCI World Tour 2018. Known as ‘The Little Tour of Flanders’, the race will consist of 206 km and fifteen of the famous Belgian climbs. Having first entered the Belgian racing calendar in 1958, E3 Harelbeke forms a part of ‘Flemish Week’, where it’s joined by the Tour of Flanders, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem.

In last years race, Belgian riders dominated by completing a clean sweep on the podium. Fan favourite Greg Van Avermaet took first place, with Philippe Gilbert and Oliver Naesen joining him in second and third.

Belgian cyclist Tom Boonen holds the record for the most E3 Harelbeke victories with five titles.

The E3 Harelbeke route

The 206 km route will take the peloton over the traditional Belgian cobbles and hills, known as ‘hellingen’. The last of the hills comes 20 km from the finish.

The race starts and finishes in the town of Harelbeke, which is north east of Kortrijk. The riders will face their first climb around 25 km in, at the Wolvenberg. After they climb that, they will be greeted with two cobbled sections, which are often complicated by strong crosswinds, making the cycling particularly difficult. At 90 km, the peloton will reach La Houppe for another climb, although the bulk of the hard work is still to come.

The second half of the race is where the fun will start as it is packed full of climbs, which are often cobbled. Just before 100 km, the riders will start the Broeke climb, which is shortly followed by Knokteberg. Then, around 5 km apart, the peloton will continually have to tackle the Flemish rolling hills, including the Hotondberg, Kortekeer, Taaienberg, Boigneberg, Eikenberg, Stationsberg, Kapelberg, Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont, Karnemelkbeekstraat and, last but not least, Tiegemberg. Of those, Taaienberg, Eikenberg, Stationsberg, Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont are cobbled climbs.

In 2017, it was on the Oude Kwaremont where Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and Oliver Naesen attacked. They managed to successfully break away from the chasing peloton before Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to victory.

Preparing for Flanders

Given the inclusion of the cobbles, winding roads and hills, it’s no surprise that many riders are attracted to the race as preparation for the Tour of Flanders, the monument race in the Flemish calendar. Recent winners have included a host of big names. Michal Kwiatkowski, Peter Sagan and Geraint Thomas join Greg Van Avermaet as recent winners.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Peter Sagan (BORA - hansgrohe) will once again be hot favourites, and the line up is expected to be strong as the world of cycling gets ready for the Tour of Flanders. Additionally expected to join the peloton is Sep Vanmarcke (Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale), Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Tony Martin (Team Katusha - Alpecin), Edvald Boasson Hagan (Dimension Data) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb).