• Cheers! Niki Terpstra finished ahead of two of the sports greats, Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet. (Getty)Source: Getty
Niki Terpstra and Quick-Step Floors dropped a long-range bomb on the peloton to win the 206km E3 Harelbeke spring classic.
By
Cycling Central

24 Mar 2018 - 8:47 AM  UPDATED 24 Mar 2018 - 8:48 AM

The 2014 Paris-Roubaix winner won solo after a massive effort by his Quick-Step Floors team to finish ahead of team-mate Philippe Gilbert and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), the 2017 E3 winner.

A crash before the 100km to go mark proved important, splitting the peloton, and allowing Quick-Step Floors an opportunity to establish its dominance on the remaining members of the front group as it set about chasing down the earlier eight-rider break.

Terpstra was then part of a two-man breakaway with team-mate Yves Lampaert 74km from the finish of the race that follows almost the exact route as next week's Tour of Flanders.

"Many thought we were crazy to attack 74 kilometres out, but we knew we could make something special today, Terpstra said.

Terpstra had Gilbert in the chasing group behind frustrating any organised pursuit and after Lampaert dropped off inside the final 25km he was off alone to the finish.

"The toughest moment came on the highway, inside the last ten kilometres, but I didn’t crack and rode my heart out there, managing to finish off the team’s brilliant effort with this win," Terpstra said.

"It wouldn’t have been possible without this awesome team, the way they all rode today. From Tim [Declercq] and Iljo [Keisse] who spent a ridiculous amount of energy at the front of the bunch and Philippe, Florian [Sénéchal] and Zdenek [Stybar] who reeled in every move to Yves’s fantastic effort."