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E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - Prediction

Wednesday 20 March 2024 • Previews

Tom Nederend

Friday March 22nd 2024: Harelbeke - Harelbeke (207.6 km)

Who will win E3 Saxo Classic 2024 according to the computer? The mini-Tour of Flanders starts in Harelbeke and finishes after 208km in the same town.. With 17 steep hills and 5 cobbled sectors is very challenging which becomes clear from its honour-roll.  Last year was the pinnacle with Van Aert-Van der Poel-Pogacar as the final podium. Two of them will start again in 2024. The final decision will be made at the two climbs Paterberg (400m at 12.9%) and Oude Kwaremont (2.2 km at 4.0%) - well-known from Ronde van Vlaanderen. At the top of Oude Kwaremont 31km remains to the finish in Harelbeke. 

📺Eurosport 1 (14.00u), Sporza (14.00u)
⏰11.45 u
🏁16.35 u
⛅️Rainy, light wind, 13 degrees

E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - profiel
E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - profile
E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - parcours
E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - route
E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - hellingen en kasseien
E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - hills and cobbled sectors

Stats - E3-Classic

Eddy Merckx is big name not present at the honour-roll of E3-Classic. Never did Big Eddy win the mini-Tour of Flanders. Tom Boonen missed out on the Omloop, Gilbert cried for Milano-Sanremo, but E3-Classic is the (only?) big race missing at the palmares of the GOAT. His big rival Roger De Vlaeminck missed out on Gent-Wevelgem, just as Johan Museeuw, The Lion of Flanders. 

Mister E3

His legs on the top of the Taaienberg make it clear: Tom Boonen is with 10 top-10s, 7 podiums and 5 victories Mister E3. He always finished top-15 in 13 participations. Twice, Boonen won both E3-Classic and Gent-Wevelgem in the samen weekend, only achieved by Greg Van Avermaet afterwards.

Most victories in E3-Classics

RiderWins2nd
3rd
Tom Boonen
5
2
0

Rik Van Looy

4
0
0
Fabian Cancellara
3
1
0
Jan Raas
3
1
0
Eddy Planckaert
2
1

2

Andrei Tchmil
2
1
0
Wout van Aert

2

1
0
Johan Museeuw
2
0
1

Mini-Ronde

E3-Classic is also called the Small Tour of Flanders. All the hills of de Ronde are conquered 9 days earlier and the pace at which they follow each other is, if necessary, even faster in the E3. The big difference between E3-Classic and Gent-Wevelgem is reflected in the way the winner wins the race. In Gent-Wevelgem a large group regularly sprints for the win, in E3 someone often wins solo or after a sprint in a small group. 2012 and 2004 were the last editions a large group sprinted for victory in E3. In Ghent-Wevelgem, a rider has only won solo 4 times in the last 30 years, Paolini was the last in 2015. A bunchsprint last took place in 2019 in Gent-Wevelgem.

Startlist 2024

The startlist quality of E3-Classic 2024 is lower than last year, but still higher than in many previous editions. 3 riders from the best 10 in the world and 11 of the best 50 riders are at the start. The SQ is also slightly higher this year again in Gent-Wevelgem, mainly due to the width of the starting field with many strong sprinters. The starting list is also younger on average in E3 than in previous years. Since 2012, a downward trend has been visible in the average age of the startlist.

Average age E3-participants (ProCyclingStats)
Average age E3-participants (ProCyclingStats)

Mathieu en Wout

The 2024 E3 will be the 29th time that Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel will be at the start of the same one-day race. The last time either of them finished outside the top 10 was the 2021 World Championships Road Race, when Van Aert finished 11th (with the exception of Mathieu's DNF in the 2022 WC RR). For a result outside the top 20, we even have to go back to the legendary Amstel Gold Race of 2019, where Van Aert finished 58th. The 2018 Elfstedenronde is the only competition where neither of the two matadors (due to bad luck for WVA and MVDP joining the early flight and doing leadout) finished in the top 10.

First after Tom Boonen?

If Van Aert wins on Friday, he will become the first since Tom Boonen to win a Flemish classic three times in a row. Van Aert has been brutally strong over the past 2 years, will he get the three in a row?

Last rider winning 3+ consecutive editions of a big classic
Last rider winning 3+ consecutive editions of a big classic

If Mathieu wins, he will be the first reigning World Champion to win E3-Classic since Tom Boonen in 2006. Sagan took victory in Gent-Wevelgem as a World Champion twice: in 2016 and 2018. 

Reigning World Champions winning E3 or Gent-Wevelgem
Reigning World Champions winning E3 or Gent-Wevelgem

Oldest debutant

A final small stat: two-time Monument-winner Jakob Fuglsang will make his debut in E3-Classic 2024. The Dane was the oldest debutant since forever in Milano-Sanremo and will be so in E3, at the day of his 39th birthday. På forhånd tillykke med fødselsdagen Jakob!

E3 Saxo Classic 2024 - prediction

Computer prediction 💻, Expected Win (xW):

Name
Team
Win %

🦄 Matteo Jorgenson

*The unicorn is our joker, nice old-fashioned based on feeling

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