Van Aert outsprints Van der Poel and Pogacar to win E3 Saxo Classic


Wout Van Aert beat Mathieu van der Poel and Tadej Pogacar to win the E3 Saxo Classic on Friday for his first victory of the season.

The 204km race takes on the same climbs and cobbles as the Tour of Flanders and the lead trio broke away from a strong field to contest the victory between them.

Van Aert just edged Van der Poel after Pogacar led the trio over most of the final kilometres without managing to open the gap he needed on the better sprinters.

“I’m happy to be stood in the middle,” said Van Aert. “It’s been a while since I won a race on the road,” said the Belgian, who missed training in the early season through sickness and injury.

Van der Poel, winner at Milano-Sanremo last week, took this narrow defeat on the chin.

“It was a really nice race today, at the end we also had some good weather,” he joked. “In the end, Wout Van Aert was too strong in the sprint. But I can live with second place and hopefully next week I can turn things around,” he said of the April 2 Tour of Flanders.

“For sure I wanted to win today this race as well. I was close. My first time, I was third, now second, so maybe I have to come back next year.”

On his E3 debut Pogacar was also stoic about his third place after a series of late bids to drop Van der Poel and Van Aert.

“I tried two times, but they expected it and they were on my wheel. I hope things will different next week,” he said of Flanders. “I’ll go home and do some good training, it’s just a week to Flanders. The shape is there and there’s not much to do now.”


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