THE CHARM OF E3
The ‘curse of Omloop’ is a well known trope in cycling fandom. No winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad has ever gone on to win the Ronde in the same year. Conversely, you could say that the opposite holds true for the E3 Saxo Bank Classic. Kasper Asgreen is just the latest of many to have won both E3 and Flanders in the same season, and as a predictor of success in the bigger race, E3 is a very good form guide.
Since the WorldTour began in 2005 (E3 became a WT event in 2012), the winner of Flanders has finished in the top 10 of E3 15 out of 17 years. The exceptions are Mathieu van der Poel in 2020, when E3 was cancelled, and Nick Nuyens, who came only 38th in the 2011 edition of E3 before taking a surprise win in the bigger race. Eleven times, the winner of Flanders has been in the top four in E3, and Asgreen’s was the seventh E3- Flanders double since 2005.
Winning both in the same season has become more common as E3 has increased in prestige. Before 1998, in 40 years, only three riders had done this. But with the advent of the WorldTour, doubling up became common, with Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara achieving the feat five times between them.