Edvald Boasson Hagen’s form continued to improve as he finished 24th at E3 Harelbeke, despite the odds, on Friday to finish as our best-placed rider.
The race was won by Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) ahead of teammate Philippe Gilbert and defending champion Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing).
The start of the Classics season is always hugely anticipated and the opening race proved exactly why. It seemingly had it all: an early breakaway, multiple crashes and the winner soloing to victory.
Eight-men made the early jump and built a lead at one point that went up to around seven minutes before it was brought down and controlled at under six minutes in a relatively calm opening.
A big crash though at Schorisse, with 108km to go, played a decisive role in the day as a number of the main race contenders were caught up in that and others took advantage.
With 90km to go the advantage had come down to 1:45 with the main race split in two groups behind the leaders; and at the 70km to go mark Terpstra and teammate Yves Lampaert made their move. It proved ultimately decisive in the outcome as the Dutchman all but soloed to a famous win.
Boasson Hagen finished in 25th spot while Julien Vermote was 77th on the stage.
Roger Hammond – Sports Director
Today was a really crazy race. For me it was always one of the hardest Classics, harder than Tour of Flanders, because it’s near enough the same as the old Tour of Flanders without the easy bits. Then add into that a couple of big crashes, out of the six riders we only had one who finished the race on his original bike.
So again we’ve had a real difficult day, a testing day, but we saw some really good performances; Eddy after three bike changes was still in the group with Sagan in the final so it was a really good motivating team performance to kick our Classics campaign off. We just hope that this luck that we’re having in the team at the moment changes fairly soon and we can just concentrating on the racing bit.