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E3 BinckBank Classic. Intense day on Belgian roads for Astana riders

With Magnus Cort finishing first in the sprint of the reduced bunch, he was the first Astana rider to finish at today’s E3 BinckBank Classic Harelbeke. He took the 20th place behind winner Zdenek Stybar, who finished 2’50” earlier in the streets of Harelbeke after a sprint between him and four other riders. Young Italian Davide Ballerini gained experience again on the Belgian roads but had to abandon the race due to back problems after a counter-attack in the final 55 kilometers of the race.

- It was good to see Davide Ballerini in a good position today, especially in one of the key moments on the climb of the Taaienberg. He’s still young and very talented for these kinds of races, that’s why it was too bad he had to abandon due to back problems today. Of course, we’re looking for a result in the classic races these weeks, but the long term plans with our riders are more important at the moment. If our riders continue to develop like this, I’m sure we’ll become more competitive in the classics again. In the end, it’s good that Laurens de Vreese and Hugo Houle were there in the finale to support Magnus Cort, where they really put in an effort in order for Magnus to do a good sprint. We’ll keep motivated for the upcoming races, as there are some chances for our riders for a good result and to gain even more experience on this specific kind of races, - said sports director Lars Michaelsen.

The E3 BinckBank Classic, the small version of the Tour of Flanders, took off in perfect, sunny conditions. After an early break took off, the race really started in the final 60 kilometers with several attacks of the favorites. Davide Ballerini attacked as well, but after a few kilometers, he was forced to drop out of this group and to abandon the race after the Oude Kwaremont climb due to back problems. A select group of five riders made it into the streets of Harelbeke to sprint for the victory, with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Zdenek Stybar taking the win in front of Wout van Aert and Greg van Avermaet. Magnus Cort took the sprint of the reduced peloton, finishing on the 20th place.

 

Photo: ©Getty Images

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