We were over at E3 Harelbeke last Friday to watch the racing and soak up some of the famous Belgian atmosphere. While E3 is by no means as big in reputation as its brother, the Tour of Flanders (or Ronde van Vlaanderen, if you prefer), it’s a top level pro bike race in Belgium which means people come out to watch in their thousands and anyone who’s got pretensions of being someone in the Classics is there to ride.
And it is a brutal race too – just ask Fabian Cancellara, whose spring campaign was ended by a crash on the Haaghoek cobbles.
As well as hitting some bergs ourselves for a bit of Flemish-style suffering, we got along to the start in Harelbeke to check out the pro bikes and see what tweaks they make for the cobbles.
Although the cobbles of Flanders are very different to that of Roubaix, they still pack quite a punch and if your bike’s not 100% then the Hellingen may well shake it to bits.