E3 Harelbeke marks the start proper, of the northern classics season. These are the races that take place in Belgium, Holland and Northern France across farm tracks, rough roads, in often horrendous conditions – they are brilliant to watch. Although perhaps not so brilliant to race on occasion.
The E3 Harelbeke is a mini Tour of Flanders and uses many of the same ‘roads’ (we use that term loosely). In the last ten years, only four men have won it. Of those, Fabian Cancellara has won it three times, whilst Belgian superstar Tom Boonen has managed to win it a record-breaking five times. We’re not sure if Tom will be racing yet (he withdrew late from Milan San-Remo for personal reasons) but we hope he will be so another epic battle can be enjoyed.
Heres the finish of the 2010 race to wet your appetite. The year Boonen attacked on the Pattenburg, but it wasn’t to be his day.