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« on: February 26, 2021, 18:49 »
As far as I know, the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is one of few Belgian races left with an independent, amateur race organization doing all the work (paging Echoes for any updates...). It isn't part of the Flanders Classics package and you will get to see it on TV if you want to.

The race's slogan is " Hier ontstaan legendes" - Here legends are created if I translate correctly and from the sound of it, they like to open their doors and let the talents come in to race. It is the day after the Omloop (always) it has a few less cobbled sections and hills and a long relatively featureless ride to the finish line after the (insert last obstacle) has made it earn its reputation as a race that suits the sprinters better than the Omloop. Only for it to be won on quite long solo breakaways on a number of occasions the last years. In other words, the parcours that does look a bit less exciting on paper has seen plenty of interesting racing because the riders have made it so.

Looking back at the previous few years, either you attack solo and go all the way in (Jasper Steuven, Bob Jungels, Kasper Asgreen) or you are a damned good sprinter (Groenewegen-18 edition) or you could make it to the finish with a small group of classics riders (Sagan). If not, Kristoff comes,  and he will take the sprint in the group behind.

Let's look at the parcours
No, it is a secret, apparently. I think that is an anti-covid-policy, trying to avoid all the fans getting together and getting drunk. Probably not very effective as someone will find out anyway.
I have heard that they are going over the Tiegemberg, and as the first race of its kind it has adopted a special protocol to Keep #ag2r Oliver Naesen still in the race afterwards. Finally there is a way to overcome the now infamous Tiegemberg complex.

OK, how about the teams and the riders, then..
Apart from Oliver's #ag2r AG2R-Citroën team there will be the other ususal suspects from the world tour:
#quickstep Decuninck Quickstep (watch out for all the team, as usual, but Asgreen won last year.)
#trek Trek-Segafredo (Stuyven, Pedersen, Kirsch  and Theuns ... this is some line up!
#bora Bora-Hansgrohe (Politt)
#ineos Ineos Grenadiers
#lotto Lotto Soudal (Degenkolb, Florian Vermeersch)
#israel Israel Start-up nation
#groupama Groupama-FDJ (Démare, Küng)
#uae UAE Team Emirates (Kristoff, Trentin)
#ef EF Education-Nippo (Valgren),
#wanty Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert
#qhubeka Qhubeka Assos (JF M Gogl it!)
#bahrain Bahrain Victorious (Colbrelli, Haller)
#cofidis Cofidis (Laporte)
#astana Astana-Premier Tech  (?)
#bikeexchange Team Bikeexchange (Durbridge, Jansen)
#dsm Team DSM (Kragh-Andersen, Eekhoff, Benoot)

and then there are the hopeful pro teams
#fenix Fenix-Alpecin (if he passes the corona test, you know who, but also Dillier and Merlier)
#arkea Arkéa-Samsic (?)
#zabu Vini Zabú (Marezko)
#unox UNO-X Pro Cycling team (Hoelgaard, Halvorsen)
#tde Total Direct Energie  (Terpstra, Boasson Hagen)
#bingoal Bingoal-Wallonie-Brussels (?)
#vlaanderen Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (?)
#bbhotels B&B Hotels p/b KTM (?)

With some exception I don't really know these ProTeams.

Who's going to win?
In terms of team strength we always start with Quickstep, don't we? It is classics season again, it's Belgium, it's home ground advantage, it is high expectations. They have some 7 riders that can win and they know how to stage a tactical battle.
However, this year, DSM also looks like a strong contender, with a slightly younger but also very strong crew of multiple possible winners: Both Tiesj Benoot and SKA are capable of riding away Steuven style, while Niels Eekhoff may be able to finish ahead of a few contenders in a sprint too. If that's not good enough there are a few others capable of landing a top 10,
Trek also has a strong team, with Mads Pedersen as perhaps the best suited to this kind of course as he can hold on across the obstacles, doesn't usually have a problem with the distance and sprints well in a reduced bunch sprint too. They bring former winner Stuyven as well,plus a couple of other options.
Apart from these strong teams, we may see Mathieu van der Poel win.

However, all this is theory and never before has the season preparations been so troubled by diseases and changes of plan, except maybe last year - but my point is: watch it, something unexpected could just happen, maybe, as the slogan says: " Hier ontstaan legendes"  this Sunday.
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  • « Last Edit: February 27, 2021, 20:03 by LukasCPH »


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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 21:56 »
    Let's look at the parcours
    No, it is a secret, apparently. I think that is an anti-covid-policy, trying to avoid all the fans getting together and getting drunk. Probably not very effective as someone will find out anyway.
    And it's not as if those Flemish (semi-)classics don't use the same route year on year anyway ... :shh
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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #2 on: February 27, 2021, 16:38 »
    forgot about it today, but here is Het Nieuwsblad's star rating for Kuurne at least (published this morning, before the Omloop):

    :*:*:*:*:* van der Poel
    :*:*:*:* Démare, Pedersen
    :*:*:* Laporte, Kristoff, Colbrelli
    :*:* van Avermaet, Trentin, Theus, Hodeg
    :* Hofstetter, Degenkolb, Hayter, Meeus, Stuyven
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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 19:37 »
    But but MVDP is on lead out duty :lol
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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #4 on: February 28, 2021, 22:19 »
    When watching races recorded I usually do a lot of fast forward, transforming the last 80 km recorded into about 40 km of highlights. This time I used the pause button to make sure I could catch all the action. This was the kind of bike racing that was just a kick to watch!

    I once again award my "best race of the year so far" diploma :1, and once again we see that the most exciting course profile (Omloop) is no guarantee for the most exciting racing. I am a little bit biased here because #unox was so tightly enrolled in all the action going on, but (cliché time) the most exciting racers make the most exciting races out of any decent parcours. I am looking at #fenix Matieu van der Poel, with #ineos Narvaez, attacking at --- was that 80 km from the finish line?

    On *no Eurosport it was like: "bla bla bla now we have live pictures showing #unox Hvideberg in the break AND there - why wait for it - van der Poel attacks."

    van der Poel and Narvaez jumped again on the Ode Kwaremont and picked up most of the original breakaway, forming a well-functioning attack group, managing to hold off a chasing group until the last part of the finishing circuit in Kortrijk.  With about 1k to go, they were caught, after the working agreements with terms and conditions etc in the front group expired. There wasn't enough time for renegotiations as #quickstep Kasper Asgreen put in the kind of monster effort to close the gap that few others in the peloton can do after almost 200 km. A pity for him and his teammates that his countryman #trek Mads Pedersen is really good at sprinting after many kilomters....

    (Of course, I couldn't write a post race review without a #unox Uno-X dedicated section, so here comes the inevitable)
    I was of course super happy to see the #unox Uno-X boys cycling so well, both individual and as a team. I think they mught have been slightly surprised to have so many riders so deep in the final  -and the wrong guys for the sprint. Jonas Iversby Hvideberg did excellent work in the breakaway all day, seemed to have limited trouble following van der Poel when he had to but also was reponsible for breaking up collaboration a little to early for them to go all the way to the finish line, when he sat himself at the back of the group not taking turns anymore.

    His teammate #unox Markus Hoelgaard was one of the stronger riders in the race today, closign a few large gaps and bridging across to the goup up ahead as needed (one of few I would trust to follow Asgreen on his accelrations.several times. However he never got to use that strenght to attack for the win, he only did closign the gap/bridging across kind of moves.

    In the end, Resell managed to improve the team's best result in the race, they now have a top 10 to their name. However, I don't think the result is so important as the fact that they raced brilliantly and succeeded at almost everything they tried to do except possibly winning the race. There were no other pro-teams that managed as well (they actually managed to beat #fenix, so ending the breakaway at 1 km somehow paid off for them)
    Correction #tde is also a pro team and Turgis the best pro-team rider....

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  • « Last Edit: February 28, 2021, 22:41 by t-72, Reason: Turgis »


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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #5 on: March 01, 2021, 09:49 »
    Shame for Mathieu. I really thought he could've done it. The breakaway maintained a 20 to 25 second gap for about 20km.

    By the way, for the first time in years I've had the feeling that Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne had a better field than Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but that might only have to do with the presence of one man : Mathieu Van der Poel.  :D
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    Re: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    « Reply #6 on: March 01, 2021, 11:13 »
    Shame for Mathieu. I really thought he could've done it. The breakaway maintained a 20 to 25 second gap for about 20km.

    Yes so did I  - probably hope over expectation  - but the peloton grabbed 18 seconds on the penultimate mile - some pull - and then it was a free for all - very enjoyable race though - great to be back!

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