Demystifying E3 Saxo Classic: A Mini Tour of Flanders Perspective
Often referred to as the Mini Tour of Flanders, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic is a fine embodiment of Belgium’s fondness for professional cycling. This noteworthy event in Flemish Week draws a top-tier field of racers, setting the stage for a dynamic and challenging one-day race.

The Origin of E3 Saxo Classic

The E3 Saxo Classic, named originally after the E3 motorway in Belgium, rolled into the cycling tapestry in 1958. Over the decades, the event, now part of the UCI World Tour, has earned a reputation for providing an exciting glimpse into the favorites for the forthcoming Tour of Flanders.

Course Breakdown

Originating and terminating in the town of Harelbeke, the E3 Saxo Classic encompasses a compact yet formidable circuit of approximately 203 kilometers. Its winding roads, punctuated by a string of challenging climbs often laced with fearsome cobblestones, mimic the harsh terrain of the much-celebrated Tour of Flanders, earning it the moniker "Mini Ronde."

Defining Aspects of E3 Saxo Bank Classic

  • Cobbled Climbs: Iconic climbs such as the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg, coated with cobblestones, constitute key strategic points in the race.

  • Bumper Crowds: The passionate Flemish cycling fans turn out in large numbers, adding to the race's electric atmosphere.

Cycling Lingo to Know

  • Breakaway: A group of riders that escapes the control of the main peloton.

Interesting Facts

  • The Belgian cyclist, Tom Boonen, holds an absolute record of five victories in the E3 Saxo Classic.

  • The race has become a reliable predictor of who might perform well in the Tour of Flanders, given the similarity in terrains.


The E3 Saxo Bank Classic provides a thrilling exhibition of racing and a grueling test of early-season form. By flaunting the most challenging aspects of Belgian terrain, it offers a tantalizing precursor to the main event – the Tour of Flanders. The control, resilience, and tactical acuity displayed by cyclists while maneuvering the tricky crests and cobbles, underpin the race’s attraction. The E3 Saxo Bank Classic is not just a stepping stone for the Tour of Flanders, it's an independently compelling race that showcases high-intensity cycling amid an atmosphere ablaze with excitable fans.

PUT TO THE SWORD ⚔️ | E3 Saxo Classic 2024 Race Highlights | Eurosport Cycling

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