Van der Poel’s Paterberg Attack Secures Victory in E3 Saxo Classic

Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel delivered a masterful performance in the E3 Saxo Classic, claiming victory with a bold solo attack on the iconic Paterberg. The Dutchman’s 41-kilometre solo effort showcased his sheer strength and tactical prowess, solidifying his status as a force to be reckoned with in the Classics circuit.

Emerging triumphant in the rainbow bands, Van der Poel’s win marks a significant statement ahead of the prestigious Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. His solo ride to victory, initiated on the unforgiving slopes of the Paterberg, left spectators in awe and his rivals trailing behind.

Reflecting on his remarkable performance, Van der Poel expressed his delight at securing his first win of the season in such a commanding fashion. “I’m super happy. I didn’t expect it. I thought I needed a few more races to get to this level,” Van der Poel revealed after crossing the finish line in Harelbeke.

The reigning World Champion acknowledged the support of his team, emphasising their crucial role in positioning him at the forefront of the race. “The guys did an awesome job, putting me in the front with Søren (Kragh Andersen) who was there and important for me,” Van der Poel added, underscoring the collaborative effort behind his victory.

Van der Poel’s triumph in the E3 Saxo Classic holds particular significance, as the race had previously eluded him. “This one was not yet on it, so I’m super happy to win, especially with the way I won it,” he remarked, highlighting the significance of adding this prestigious title to his palmares.

The Dutchman’s victory comes as part of Alpecin-Deceuninck’s recent string of successes in the Classics, following wins by teammate Jasper Philipsen in Milan-San Remo and Brugge-De Panne. With the upcoming Gent-Wevelgem on the horizon, Van der Poel aims to maintain his winning momentum alongside Philipsen, eyeing further triumphs for the team.

Meanwhile, Jasper Stuyven of Lidl-Trek celebrated his best-ever result in the E3 Saxo Classic, securing second place after a collective display of strength by the team. “It was a very hard day from start to finish. One man was above everyone else, but I’m happy to finish second behind him,” Stuyven remarked, acknowledging Van der Poel’s dominance while expressing satisfaction with his podium finish.

Lidl-Trek’s sports director, Gregory Rast, commended the team’s performance, noting their tactical acumen and resilience throughout the race. “I think we can be proud as a team, with the victory. Now I’ll try to recover for Sunday because Gent-Wevelgem is also not on my palmares,” Van der Poel remarked, looking ahead to the next challenge on the Classics calendar.

Van der Poel’s commanding victory in the E3 Saxo Classic sets the stage for an exciting and fiercely contested cobbled Classics campaign, as he and his rivals gear up for the battles that lie ahead on the iconic roads of Belgium and Northern France.

2024 E3 Saxo Classic result

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Main photo credit: Getty Images

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