The E3 Saxo Bank Classic provides a great warm-up for the Tour des Flandres and Jumbo-Visma could've hardly done anything better. Having blown up the race, the Dutch team repeatedly attacked, and were clearly superior to their rivals as Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte attacked in the final hour of racing and comfortably took a dominant win riding by themselves.
The breakaway consisted of Lukas Postleberger and Ryan Mullen (BORA - hansgrohe), Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies), Lasse Norman Hansen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Jelle Wallays (Cofidis), Brent van Moer (Lotto Soudal) and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB).
It was not a group that ever threatened the peloton. The race kicked off early on, with the Taaienberg having a narrow run-up, it saw the peloton stretched out as Jumbo-Visma put in a dig and blew the group up the ascent with 80 kilometers to go. Van Aert, Laporte, Benoot, Stuyven, Kung, Mohoric and Asgreen followed. Benoot took several digs, but the peloton managed to keep the gap below 30 seconds and at the Eikenberg several riders managed to bridge across to the front group with a sharp attack. The breakaway was caught, and most of it's riders dropped in the meantime.
There was some strategical riding, but with relative collaboration the group went on to keep their lead. In the Paterberg the race was stirred up once again, but this time with the decisive attack of the race as van Aert and Laporte hit the climb in front, and rode the gutter all the way up, getting a gap on the rest of the group.
The duo quickly built a gap of 20 seconds, and despite being in touching distance around the Oude Kwaremont as Laporte struggled, the duo afterwards went on to increase their gap, continuously. They've extended their lead to 1:35 minutes as the group behind did not have the power to reel them back, and then settled with the fight they'd have for the podium places.
In the final kilometers, as the Jumbo duo comfortably rode to the line with another brilliant performance similar to that of the opening day at Paris-Nice - except with Wout van Aert taking the win this time - a cat-and-mouse fight was had in the chasing group. With no-one able to get a gap until Stefan Kung made a move in the final 500 meters and managed to hold off the rest of the group to go onto a third spot.