Photo gallery: The beauty and the pain of E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem

by Matt de Neef

Cast your mind back a few years to when Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was the quintessential almost-man of the pro peloton. He was seemingly always in the mix — especially in the Spring Classics — and he achieved a number of impressive results, but the big wins always seemed to elude him.

But in the past 12 months that’s all changed. In 2016 Van Avermaet won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tirreno-Adriatico, a stage of the Tour de France, the GP de Montreal and an Olympic Games gold medal. He’s started 2017 in equally impressive fashion.

The Belgian kicked things off with victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad a few weeks back – beating world champion Peter Sagan – he was second at Strade Bianche, and then, this past weekend, he took things even further.

On Friday, Van Avermaet won E3 Harelbeke from a three-rider breakaway, and then on Sunday he took his third Belgian Classic of the spring, beating Jens Keukeleire in a two-up sprint. What else might Greg Van Avermaet be able to achieve in 2017? Could he win the Tour of Flanders on Sunday? Paris-Roubaix the week after?

In the meantime, see below for a selection of great photos from E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, courtesy of Kristof Ramon and Jered & Ashley Gruber.

Follow the links for our coverage from E3 Harelbeke and from Gent-Wevelgem.

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