Niki Terpstra takes the victory at E3 Harelbeke
Mar 24 2018 12:32 am CET

Niki Terpstra takes the victory at E3 Harelbeke
Niki Terpstra takes the victory at E3 Harelbeke
Photo of Niki Terpstra (c)Sigfrid Eggers

Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) has won the E3 Harelbeke. The Dutchman crossed the finish line on his own after being part of the front group for most of the second part of the race.

The 206.5-kilometre race started and finished in Harelbeke, in West Flanders, Belgium. The day started with the escape of eight riders that included Truls Engen Korsaeth (Astana), Nelson Oliveira and Pim Ligthart (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and got an advantage of more than six minutes on the pack.

At 108 kilometres from the finish, there was a massive crash that broke the peloton into two groups. The group in front included riders like Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), Niki Terpstra and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) while the second had names like Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb).

The next cobbled section broke the head of the race and left Lighart and Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie) alone in the front, but soon they were joined by Terpstra and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step), while behind them a group led by Greg Van Avermaet attempted to catch them.

Some kilometres later, the two Quick-Step Floors men had to continue on their own as their two companions couldn't hold the rhythm for much longer. Behind them, Van Avermaet, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Gilbert continued trying to close the gap.

With around 30 kilometres to go, Gilbert tried to bridge to his two teammates in front but was soon captured by the second group of chasers that had already caught Van Avermaet and Benoot and included Stefan Küng (BMC), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott). At 23 kilometres from the end, Terpstra decided to try his luck and went ahead on his own.

At around 5 kilometres from the line, Van Avermaet launched an attack but was soon caught by Trentin who also tried to jump away but was reeled back in by the others. The next one to attempt an attack was Stuyven but he too was unsuccessful.

All these attacks reduced the speed of the group and gave Terpstra the chance to arrive at the finish line on his own. Gilbert crossed the line in second place and Van Avermaet completed the podium.

This is the 18th victory for Quick-Step Floors in the 2018 season so far.



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