Race report

Marc Hirschi finishes 10th at E3 with impressive cobbled debut

E3 Binckbank Classic

The cobbled classics continued today with the 204 kilometre long E3 Binckbank Classic. With numerous hills and cobbled sections to contend with, including the brutally tough Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont combination at around 45 kilometres of the day remaining, it was set to be a hard day out for all the riders.

Team Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi managed to escape the bunch along with seven other riders to form the day’s breakaway. Given the nature of the course and the attentiveness of the peloton behind, the group was only ever allowed a maximum of five minutes. As attacks started to fly from the bunch and a relentless pace set, the gap to the group had closed to only 30 seconds with 55 kilometres left. The break continued to push on though and with some riders bridging from behind, they managed to increase the gap again.

Over the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont, Hirschi put in a very strong performance to ensure he was the last remaining member from the morning breakaway out front. He remained at the head of the race before just losing touch on the Karnemelkbeekstraat. However, after digging deep he continued to impress and managed to join the second group of five on the road, ultimately finishing in 10th place after a hard day out.

 

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef was delighted at the performance: “We came here with the goal to protect Søren in the finale and to do so we wanted to get someone into the breakaway. Marc Hirschi got himself into the morning move and proved to be on a very strong day when he was the only one from the break able to follow those who bridged from behind. He had to let go on the Karnemelkbeekstraat but managed to get himself into a chase group that were fighting for 6th place. To finish 10th in the end is a very impressive performance from our young neo-pro at what was his first ever cobbled classics race at elite level. The rest of the team did a good job to support Søren but he had some back pain and couldn’t follow the head of the race.” 

 

Hirschi added: “I went in the early break to help Søren in the final and I felt from the beginning of the day that my legs were very good. Once Jungels came across I gave it my all to stay on his wheel but just had to let him go on the second to last hill. I then found myself in the next group on the road which then split on the last climb of the day. The group I was in after that went full gas but we couldn’t catch the guys ahead of us. Coming in to the sprint I was a little blocked on the right side, finishing 10th in the end. I’m surprised at how the day went, I can’t quite believe it but I’m really happy about the performance and the legs are good!”