Terpstra wins E3 Harelbeke thanks to Quick-Step strength

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Paris (AFP)

Dutchman Niki Terpstra made a statement of intent ahead of the major spring cobbled classics with victory in Friday's E3 Harelbeke one-day semi-classic.

The 2014 Paris-Roubaix victor won with a solo breakaway but was hugely helped by his Belgian team Quick-Step.

Team-mate Philippe Gilbert came second with Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, E3 winner last year, taking third in the 206km race around Flanders.

Terpstra, 33, was part of a two-man breakaway 70km from the finish of the race that follows almost the exact route as next week's prestigious Tour of Flanders.

But with Belgian team-mate Yves Lampaert for company and Gilbert, another Belgian, in the chasing group behind trying to disrupt any organised pursuit, Terpstra's Quick Step outfit showed they had all the tools to orchestrate a successful bid on the cobbles.

It was a timely reminder of the Belgian team's one-day classic credentials in a race they hadn't won since the now-retired Tom Boonen triumphed in 2012.

On Sunday, the spring classics continue with Gent-Wevelgem before the second 'Monument' of the season the following Sunday, Tour of Flanders.