Vanmarcke fifth in E3 Harelbeke

Sep Vanmarcke finished fifth today in the E3 Harelbeke.

Sep Vanmarcke finished fifth in the E3 Harelbeke today behind winner Geraint Thomas of team Sky. Thomas finished solo after attacking a leading group of three with Zdenek Stybar (Etixx) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Stybar stayed ahead of the first group, but Sagan was caught before the line. Stybar’s team-mate Matteo Trentin sprinted to third in Harelbeke, just before Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Vanmarcke.

Good feeling

“The whole day I felt strong, just like the past few days,” said the Belgian. “That makes me happy. Thanks to my team-mates, I was well-positioned on the crucial points.”

Vanmarcke chose Trentin’s wheel in the final. "I know that he can sprint well in a hard race like today’s. I didn’t dare squeeze into small gaps in the sprint because I didn’t want to cause any crashes. It took very long before a big enough gap emerged and so I had to settle for fifth.”

Vanmarcke was frustrated by a moment on the Paterberg climb when he went to the front to force a break.

"I made a mistake by riding on the side of the road. I suddenly shot through the mud and my clip broke loose. I was only able to push, I couldn’t pull afterwards. It was like riding a city bike. I had to limit the damage until I could change my shoe in the last 20 kilometres.”

Hoping for a change of luck
Vanmarcke feels strong in the run-up to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but the team worries him. Robert Wagner crashed out of the race on Friday and will be replaced by Rick Flens in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

"While on Wednesday, we already lost Jos van Emden. Hopefully the tide will turn soon for us."

Jan Boven

Sports Director Jan Boven is optimistic despite the setbacks. “Our leader has shown that he is in a good shape and looking at the circumstances, the others performed well. They supported Sep really well. Hopefully, we can improve some more.”

Rick Flens for example, wasn’t fully fit from Milano-Sanremo. “But he carried out his task perfectly today. He helped Sep start the Eikenberg in the front. Maarten Tjallingii kept the break in check.

"Maarten Wynants woke up with a sore throat this morning and wasn’t sure about whether he should start or not, but nevertheless, he was able to contribute in the final. Just like Bram Tankink. Tom Leezer was very strong today, I think everybody saw that.”

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