Attention returns to the northern European cobbled Classics this weekend, with E3 Saxo Bank Classic (formally known as E3 Harelbeke) on Friday (March 26).
As one of the major pre-Tour of Flanders races as well as being a prestigious event in its own right, E3 Saxo Bank Classic often commands a star-studded start list. This year is no different, with all of the major spring Classics contenders in attendance.
Defending champion Zdeněk Štybar of Deceuninck - Quick-Step is down to ride along with the usual immensely strong Classics squad.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is down to ride with Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) yet again as they continue their rivalry. Milan-San Remo winner Jasper Stuyvan (Trek-Segafredo) will lead a strong team.
Former world champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) - winner in 2014 - is currently racing the Volta a Catalunya as he continues to look for better condition before his main season goals. Sagan's team had to pull out of the race anyway due to a positive Covid-19 test for British rider Matthew Walls just hours before the race start.
With the race covering many of the same roads as the Tour of Flanders, there will be tough competition in the race for the title with the likes of Yves Lampaert and Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r Citroën), Sep Vanmarke (Israel Start-Up Nation), Tom Pidcock and Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) and many more in a star-studded line-up.
E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021 start list
Deceuninck - Quick-Step
VAN LERBERGHE Bert
Total Direct Energie
BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
VAN GESTEL Dries
VAN MOER Brent
DE BUYST Jasper
DE GENDT Aimé
VAN DER HOORN Taco
DE WINTER Ludwig
VAN POPPEL Boy
AG2R Citroën Team
VAN AVERMAET Greg
VAN HOECKE Gijs
VAN AERT Wout
VAN HOOYDONCK Nathan
CARCÍA CORTINA Iván
FENG Chun Kai
LE GAC Olivier
HANSEN Lasse Norman
Israel Start-Up Nation
WÜRTZ SCHMIDT Mads
VAN ASBROECK Tom
VAN BAARLE Dylan
KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren
UAE Team Emirates
DE VYLDER Lindsay
DE WILDE Filles
VAN POUCKE Aaron
DI RENZO Andrea
VAN EMPEL Etienne
VAN ELZAKKER Wout
GONZÁLEZ Roberto Carlos
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
VAN DER POEL Mathieu
DE BONDT Dries
DE TIER Floris
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby
RESELL Erik Nordsaeter
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Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.
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