Slovakia's Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won the Belgian spring classic E3 Prijs Harelbeke after a tactical final. In the sprint of a four-man lead group, he prevailed in front of Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Terpstra's teammate Stijn Vandenbergh. Over the last three kilometers he had tried in vain to shake off his companions. However, Thomas and Sagan agreed and did not let the long Belgian escape.
With the best spring weather, it took about an hour before the group of the day stood. With Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Sagan in the field, Maxime Daniel (AG2R La Mondiale), Jérôme Cousin (Europcar), Florian Sénéchal (Cofidis), Jay Thomason (MTN Qhubeka) escaped. and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Robert) never really had a real chance.
In the field, a few falls on the first pavement sections of the race initially caused some confusion. However, this subsided on the Paterberg. Here the favorites finally showed up at the front of the race and tried to bring about a preliminary decision.
At the Oude Kwaremont it was only Thomas who forced the favorites to act. Only eight drivers were able to follow the Brit. Among them Sagan, who accelerated at Karnemelkbeekstraat and was able to pull away with Thomas, Terpstra and Vandenbergh.
The quartet quickly managed to gain a solid lead over the chasing group of Cancellara and Boonen. This group also included John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), who ended up being the best German in 15th place.
1. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) 4:56:31
2. Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) 0:00:00
3. Geraint Thomas (Sky) 0:00:00
4. Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) 0:00:00
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) 0:01:16