Last night I posted about the brewing battle between Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen for Pre-Ronde Supremacy. As you know, I have certain powers, but sometimes they're ironic and terrible. And so, while I had the prescience to call the smackdown between the two races, I concluded that everything would be OK in the end. So naturally, today comes news that E3 might be run for the last time tomorrow. VeloNation has English translation here.
The crux of the story, in addition to the whole little-guy-vs-Flanders-Classics bit I already covered, is that the E3 guys are now claiming that they cannot possibly move, and that with Gent-Wevelgem crowding them out of the weekend slate they can't survive. Helpfully, they point out in response to suggestions they take a Wednesday slot that while their race won't work on Wednesday, Gent-Wevelgem did quite well in that slot. Gent-Wevelgem organizers have other suggestions about where E3 can move to. Like February.
E3 director Bart Ottevaere is saying he can keep going but probably won't, seemingly threatening to quit in disgust. I raise the possibility that this is a bluff, meant to animate the race's supporters into... I dunno, calling the UCI? Getting someone to Kerrigan GW director Frank Hoste? This may be the start of a chess match... or a pissing one.
Bottom line: this isn't a good development. E3 is a great race, the perfect Ronde warmup, as Boonen has often said. I love Gent-Wevelgem, but don't make me choose.
Oh, and nice of everyone to blame Pippo Pozzato's failure to race E3 as the reason it's finished. I hear he caused the Japan Plate to shift 20 feet too. Sheesh!