E3 Saxo Bank Classic: Wout van Aert brings home Jumbo-Visma two-up TT with Christophe Laporte

Christophe Laporte and Wout van Aert go clear at 40km to go after van Aert forces decisive selections with two huge moves.

Photo: Getty Images

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Wout van Aert crossed the line first to win E3 Saxo Bank Classic after a 40km two-up Jumbo-Visma TT with Christophe Laporte.

Van Aert took victory at the so-called “mini Tour of Flanders” after blasting from the lead bunch with Laporte over the Paterberg.

The duo rolled through together all the way into Harelbeke, easily keeping the chasers at bay to seal a Jumbo-Visma demonstration of strength in the days ahead of De Ronde.

“The team was impressive. I thank every one of the guys to set up me and Christophe for the final,” van Aert said. “We were supposed to be a bit more defensive before the Paterberg and from then on we were in the front together. Big thank you to Christophe for giving me this victory, it means so much to me to take this big win in Flanders.”

Stefan Küng (Groupama FDJ) won the sprint for third from a pursuit that seemingly lost hope after a Jumbo-Visma demonstration that saw van Aert force the day’s two major splits before his final-hour gallop toward victory.

The result harkens back to Paris-Nice earlier this month when Laporte, van Aert and Primož Roglič swept the opening stage in a Jumbo-Visma powerplay.

While Laporte won in France, in Belgium home champion van Aert had his day while promising his teammate’s time would come.

“There was no discussion who would win,” van Aert said. “There are plenty more races to come and we will definitely end up with more difficult situations with more riders around us, and then sooner or later Christophe or someone else will get their chance. This is how we want to race and this is the way everyone believes we can have the biggest chance of winning.”

After amassing victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Paris-Nice before being disappointed with eighth at Milano-San Remo, van Aert is no doubt top-favorite for Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem and the uber-prestigious Tour of Flanders that follows. But he’s not taking himself too serious just yet.

“What did I learn today? Bike racing is really hard,” he quipped at the finish.

Jumbo-Visma makes the first move

Van Aert and Jumbo-Visma set the team steamrolling in action on the Taainberg climb at around 80km to go.

Van Aert hammered his way up the cobbled ascent with teammates Laporte and Tiesj Benoot on his wheel. Matej Mohorič, Stefan Kung, Jasper Stuyven and Kasper Asgreen also made the move, and the septet soon caught and promptly dropped the day’s early break.

Ineos Grenadiers and Ag2r-Citroën both missed the attack, and the former chased hard before a huge surge by Jonathan Narváez at 60km to go pulled the final selection together and blew a stack of riders out the back.

Jumbo-Visma dominated the split with four riders while Quick-Step, Groupama FDJ and Ineos took two into the final. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty)and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) were among those left to fly solo.

… and Jumbo-Visma makes the second

Just like van Aert forced the first major split, he was at it again at 40km to go.

The Jumbo-Visma captain surged on the steep slopes of the Paterberg, and this time only teammate Laporte could follow.

Mohorič and Ineos duo Narvaez and Dylan van Baarle put the motor into the eight-rider chase as van Aert and Laporte began building out a mammoth lead.

Jumbo-Visma’s third card Benoot sat at the back of the octet, disrupting the chase and putting a further handbrake on ambitions.

Asgreen, Girmay, Küng and his teammate Valentin Madouas also contributed in the pursuit, but it wasn’t enough to stop the fast-motoring leaders that vanished up the road.

Once Laporte and van Aert topped the final climb and rolled into the flat final 17km, the chasers looked crestfallen at their 80-second deficit and seemingly resigned themselves to racing for third.

Van Aert and Laporte rolled toward the line with a 90-second advantage and relished the padding to sit up and cross the line hand-in-hand, with van Aert a fraction in front.

Groupama-FDJ and Ineos Grenadiers began the scuffles for third place in the final 2km, but the chasers stayed together into the final straight.

Küng hit out early with a long-range acceleration that narrowly held-off the fast-charging Girmay. The Eritrean finished fourth for a marquee result in his blossoming palmarès.

E3 Saxo Bank Classic Results

1VAN AERT WoutJumbo-Visma4:38:04
2LAPORTE ChristopheJumbo-Visma0:00
3KÜNG StefanGroupama - FDJ1:35
4MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious1:36
5GIRMAY BiniamIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux1:36
6NARVÁEZ JhonatanINEOS Grenadiers1:36
7MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ1:36
8VAN BAARLE DylanINEOS Grenadiers1:36
9BENOOT TiesjJumbo-Visma1:36
10ASGREEN KasperQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team1:36
11TILLER RasmusUno-X Pro Cycling Team3:30
12TEUNISSEN MikeJumbo-Visma3:30
13TURGIS AnthonyTotalEnergies3:30
14GOGL MichaelAlpecin-Fenix3:31
15STUYVEN JasperTrek - Segafredo3:34
16GARCÍA CORTINA IvánMovistar Team5:34
17HALLER MarcoBORA - hansgrohe5:34
18VAN HOOYDONCK NathanJumbo-Visma5:43
19DE BONDT DriesAlpecin-Fenix5:43
20VALGREN MichaelEF Education-EasyPost5:44
21NAESEN OliverAG2R Citroën Team5:57
23LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ5:57
24PEDERSEN MadsTrek - Segafredo6:00
25HAUSSLER HeinrichBahrain - Victorious6:00
26EDMONDSON AlexTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:00
27TURNER BenINEOS Grenadiers6:00
28BEULLENS CedricLotto Soudal6:00
29VERMEERSCH GianniAlpecin-Fenix6:00
30ARANBURU AlexMovistar Team6:00
31PASQUALON AndreaIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux6:00
32DEGENKOLB JohnTeam DSM6:00
33PEÁK BarnabásIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux6:00
34LIVYNS ArjenBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB6:00
35TOUZÉ DamienAG2R Citroën Team6:00
36LUDVIGSSON TobiasGroupama - FDJ6:00
37LIENHARD FabianGroupama - FDJ6:00
38BIERMANS JentheIsrael - Premier Tech6:00
39OSS DanielTotalEnergies6:00
40DE VYLDER LindsaySport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:00
41KORETZKY VictorB&B Hotels - KTM6:00
42VAN AVERMAET GregAG2R Citroën Team6:00
43BJERG MikkelUAE Team Emirates6:00
44HOULE HugoIsrael - Premier Tech6:00
45FELLINE FabioAstana Qazaqstan Team6:00
46MAS LluísMovistar Team6:00
47ARNDT NikiasTeam DSM6:00
48RESELL Erik NordsæterUno-X Pro Cycling Team6:00
49OLIVEIRA RuiUAE Team Emirates6:00
50DILLIER SilvanAlpecin-Fenix6:00
51WRIGHT FredBahrain - Victorious6:00
52MERTENS JulianSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:00
53BALLERINI DavideQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team6:00
54ŠTYBAR ZdeněkQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team6:00
55KIRSCH AlexTrek - Segafredo6:00
56VAN GESTEL DriesTotalEnergies6:05
57SÉNÉCHAL FlorianQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team6:05
58STEIMLE JannikQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team6:05
59THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo6:10
60VERGAERDE OttoTrek - Segafredo6:22
61ELOSEGUI IñigoMovistar Team10:53
62VAN ASBROECK TomIsrael - Premier Tech10:53
63MEZGEC LukaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco10:53
64LANGEVELD SebastianEF Education-EasyPost10:53
65JUNGELS BobAG2R Citroën Team11:15
66VAN MOER BrentLotto Soudal11:15
67DEWULF StanAG2R Citroën Team11:15
68SAGAN PeterTotalEnergies11:15
69SCHÄR MichaelAG2R Citroën Team11:15
70NORMAN LETH Lasse Uno-X Pro Cycling Team12:28
71NORSGAARD MathiasMovistar Team12:28
72POLITT NilsBORA - hansgrohe12:28
73ASKEY LewisGroupama - FDJ12:28
74WIRTGEN TomBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:28
75GRIGNARD SébastienLotto Soudal12:28
76GAZZOLI MicheleAstana Qazaqstan Team12:28
77DE GENDT AiméIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux12:28
78ROWE LukeINEOS Grenadiers12:28
79SHEFFIELD MagnusINEOS Grenadiers12:28
80SKAARSETH AndersUno-X Pro Cycling Team12:28
81VAN DEN BERG MarijnEF Education-EasyPost12:28
82GABBURO DavideBardiani-CSF-Faizanè12:28
83PEYSKENS DimitriBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:28
84HEALY BenEF Education-EasyPost12:28
85MULLEN RyanBORA - hansgrohe12:28
86ZAKHAROV ArtyomAstana Qazaqstan Team12:28
87JAUREGUI QuentinB&B Hotels - KTM12:28
88PÖSTLBERGER LukasBORA - hansgrohe12:28
89VAN MELSEN KévinIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux12:28
90PAGE HugoIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux12:28
91VERWILST AaronSport Vlaanderen - Baloise12:28
92URIANSTAD MartinUno-X Pro Cycling Team12:28
93MÄRKL NiklasTeam DSM12:28
94VAN POUCKE AaronSport Vlaanderen - Baloise12:28
95DURBRIDGE LukeTeam BikeExchange - Jayco12:28
96THWAITES ScottAlpecin-Fenix12:28
97ARASHIRO YukiyaBahrain - Victorious12:28
98TONELLI AlessandroBardiani-CSF-Faizanè12:28
99ERVITI ImanolMovistar Team12:28
100LAENGEN Vegard StakeUAE Team Emirates12:28
101ALLEGAERT PietCofidis12:28
102CARVALHO AndreCofidis12:28
103REX LaurenzBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:28
104JACOBS JohanMovistar Team12:28
105BASSO LeonardoAstana Qazaqstan Team12:28
106SWIFT BenINEOS Grenadiers12:28
107VANHOOF WardSport Vlaanderen - Baloise12:28
108PAASSCHENS MathijsBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:28
109KREDER WesleyCofidis12:28
110KONYCHEV AlexanderTeam BikeExchange - Jayco12:28
111BISSEGGER StefanEF Education-EasyPost12:28

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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