Belgian ace Wout van Aert won the E3 one-day cycling classic on Friday as his Jumbo team once again proved too powerful for their rivals. Jumbo attacked after 50 miles, splitting the peloton. Then, with 25 miles to go, Van Aert and his new French teammate Christophe Laporte dropped what was left. The duo were part of a Jumbo effort that put a stranglehold on the recent Paris-Nice stage race, where the team twice swept the stage podium places with an astonishing demonstration of strength.

“The team was impressive. I have to thank every single one of the guys to set us up in the final. Me and Christophe were supposed to be more defensive,”Van Aert said after the race.

“This is how we want to race and this is the way everybody believes we can have the biggest chance of winning.”

Frenchman Laporte won stage one of Paris-Nice when Van Aert and Primoz Roglic moved aside to let the newcomer cross the line ahead of them.

On Friday, Laporte returned the gesture.

“Wout was the stronger of us today, he helped me over the late climbs, so there was no question of who was going to win,” said Laporte.

Van Aert, who won three stages on last year’s Tour de France, was also the world ranked No.1 one day racer for 2021.

And on this 204km run around Harelbeke on Friday he demonstrated why, with his power and savvy. Swiss rider Stefan Kueng crossed the line over 1:35 adrift in third place, with Milan-San Remo champion Matej Mohoric fourth at the same time.

“There was nothing anybody could have done against Jumbo today,” said Kueng. Belgian outfit Quick Step can usually be counted on to perform here but last year’s champion Kasper Asgreen never recovered from an early puncture.

Wout Van Aert (BEL – Team Jumbo – Visma) – Christophe Laporte (FRA – Team Jumbo – Visma)


1 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 4:38:04
2 LAPORTE Christophe Jumbo-Visma 0:00
3 KÜNG Stefan Groupama – FDJ 1:35
4 MOHORIČ Matej Bahrain – Victorious 1:36
5 GIRMAY HAILU Biniam Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux 1:36
6 NARVÁEZ Jhonatan INEOS Grenadiers 1:36
7 MADOUAS Valentin Groupama – FDJ 1:36
8 VAN BAARLE Dylan INEOS Grenadiers 1:36
9 BENOOT Tiesj Jumbo-Visma 1:36
10 ASGREEN Kasper Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 1:36


RBA/AFP Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency

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