Race report

Not to be at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne after strong team display

Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne

Today saw another tough day of racing in Belgium as the peloton were faced with the 200 kilometre long Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and a parcours that featured several cobbled sections and climbs.

An aggressive start to the day saw numerous attacks in the peloton before a group of five managed to establish itself out front after 25 kilometres of racing. The break quickly built up a lead of almost six minutes but as the race hit the halfway mark, and the obstacles became more frequent, the gap started to fall.

Tactical battles in the bunch saw some stop-start action, but on the Oude Kwaremont the peloton split with Tiesj Benoot, Cees Bol and Søren Kragh Andersen making the front selection. Yet, the group didn’t work well together and after a slowing in pace, more riders returned to the bunch. This then resulted in more counter attacks, with Benoot and Bol able to escape once again in a group at 50 kilometres to go.

Those in the peloton behind weren’t happy with the situation and at 35 kilometres remaining the groups were back together and the morning breakaway was only 30 seconds in front. One rider, Asgreen, then jumped clear of the peloton and joined the remnants of the morning breakaway and the gap increased out to almost 40 seconds.

It led to a fast and fierce final 20 kilometres with Benoot, Kragh Andersen and Casper Pedersen all riding strongly at the front of the bunch, trading turns, in an effort to catch those ahead. Despite their best efforts, Asgreen managed to hold on to to take the win, with Bol the team’s first rider home in the reduced sprint behind.

“It was a hard race out there today,” said Bol at the finish. “We fought really hard for it as a team and were good throughout the afternoon but in the final I was too empty and made some mistakes. I’m super disappointed, the team deserved a good result today.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “I think in general we did a really good race again today. In the really important moments we were well positioned with Tiesj, Søren and Cees. We headed towards the Kwaremont in a good way and after there we had numbers in the front group and from that point we wanted to stay on top of the race, always covering the moves. Maybe we were too early in taking the weight of the peloton by chasing Asgreen. In the end, we weren’t able to catch him and Cees didn’t have the legs for the sprint. We didn’t get what we rode for but we can be can take a lot from today. We were really strong and can take a lot of confidence from that. We’re going to keep working on it over the coming weeks, making the necessary small steps, and the results will hopefully come after that.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 ASGREEN Kasper Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:47:18 200
2 NIZZOLO Giacomo NTT Pro Cycling 0:03 150
3 KRISTOFF Alexander UAE-Team Emirates ,, 125
33 BOL Cees Team Sunweb ,, 3
58 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb ,, -
64 BENOOT Tiesj Team Sunweb 1:56 -
70 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb 3:14 -
94 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 7:10 -
101 EEKHOFF Nils Team Sunweb ,, -
DNF DENZ Nico Team Sunweb - -