February 28, 2021
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2021 – Kuurne – Kuurne : 197 km
The organisers of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne have decided to take every precaution to avoid crowds at this year’s race,
February 28, 2021
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2021 – Kuurne – Kuurne : 197 km
The organisers of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne have decided to take every precaution to avoid crowds at this year’s race, so they – like many other race organisations – have opted to keep this year’s route under wraps and not reveal any specific details to the public. It’s likely that the riders will follow a very similar route to last year’s race however, and while small changes to certain sections of the route are rumoured, the core essence of the race will remain the same. The snaking loop around Flanders measures around 200km in total and features no less than 12 punchy climbs and 4 cobblestone sectors. These crunch points are scattered quite evenly across the route with the first – the Vokegemberg climb – falling 33km into the race, and the last – the Beerbosstraat cobbled sector – falling 35km from the finish.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) defeated Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) in a bunch sprint to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
The race ended in a bunch sprint, but only after a long, tense chase as a leading quintet including Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) battled resolutely to stay out in front.
The catch was only made 1,600 metres from the line, after which the lead-outs began and Pedersen had the biggest kick to win by a couple of bike-lengths.
A large sprint finish was far from a foregone conclusion from the moment Van der Poel burst out of the peloton along with Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers), over 80km from the finish. The duo caught up to the day’s earlier breakaway, and, after a few of the weaker members had been dropped, formed a cohesive quintet with Artyom Zakharov (Astana Premier-Tech), Patrick Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X) that almost made it to the finish together.
Pedersen was a comfortable winner in the sprint that followed, sprinting for clear victory after being led out by teammate Jasper Stuyven.
Earlier in the day, it had looked as if he, plus many of the other sprinters, had already been dumped out of contention, after a large group of around 20 riders – among them Greg Van Avermaet, Dylan Teuns and Matteo Trentin – broke clear on the cobbled sections.
However, this group was caught by a peloton featuring Pedersen, and together they eventually managed to reel in the five-man leading group just in the nick of time.
How it unfolded
The second half of cycling’s Flemish ‘Opening Weekend’, the 2021 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne began on a mild afternoon without a cloud in the sky.
Artyom Zakharov (Astana Premier-Tech), Ludwig De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and the Bora-Hansgrohe duo of Maciej Bodnar and Patrick Gamper attacked at the start of the day.
They were soon joined by Tom Paquot (Bingoal Wallonie Bruxelles) and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X) to form the day’s six-man breakaway group.
UAE Team Emirates took it upon themselves to lead the peloton, no doubt hoping for a bunch for their leader Alexander Kristoff, and the race remained calm during the first half of the race while they set the pace.
The calm was rudely disrupted at 83km to go when Van der Poel, whose Alpecin-Fenix team had just taken a few turns leading the peloton, launched an attack with Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers).
Victor Campanaerts (Qhubeka Assos) failed in his attempt to join them and form what would have been a formidable trio, but the presence of Van der Poel alone was enough to cause alarm bells in the peloton.
They quickly opened a lead of about one minute over the peloton, and, although they had to slow down for a short time as Van der Poel appeared to have a problem with his gearing, it continued to grow.
As the wind picked up a little and the riders climbed the Cote du Trieu, Deceuninck-QuickStep forced the pace in the peloton to temporarily cause a few splits, while also neutralising an attack from Jenthe Biermans (Israel-StartUp Nation).
By the Oude Kwaremtont at 63km from the finish, Van der Poel and Narvaez were just 30 seconds behind the break, and held a lead of 1:30 over the peloton.
The breakaway began to split into pieces on that climb, with De Winter going ahead and Van der Poel and Narvaez catching the stragglers. There was also a selection made in the peloton on the climb, with work from first Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and then Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) thinning it out.
By the time De Winter was reeled back in by the rest of the breakaway, their lead over the peloton was still around 1:30, but quickly fell to just one minute as the chase picked up in the peloton.
Aware of this, Van der Poel upped the pace again on the Kluisberg, dropping all but Narvaez and Hvideberg, although Zakharov and Gamper managed to rejoin a little later. On the same climb in the peloton, Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious) attacked, although sat up when no-one managed to follow his wheel to be swallowed up by a group which by now contained around only 20 riders.
With the gap between the leading group and the chasers having stagnated at about 50 seconds, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) attacked from this group on the final cobbled section, 35km from the finish. He failed to break up the group, but did bring the gap down to under 30 seconds.
Behind, several teams including Qhubeka Assos and Bahrain-Victorious were working well together to bring back a larger group into contention. As the riders reached the finish line for the first time, 16km from the finish, these three groups had almost come back together, with only around ten seconds separating the five-man lead group and the chasers, and only around another ten seconds between them and the third group on the road.
The second and third group merged with 12km left to ride, but the five leaders continued to stubbornly hold their lead of ten seconds, with Van der Poel inevitably doing most of the work. Rather than come down as the larger group behind chase, the gap in fact began to rise again, exceeding 20 seconds 7.5km from the line.
The chasing group could see the leaders on the long, straight roads of the final kilometres, but continued to struggle to make inroads.
With less than 4km to go, Kasper Asgreen attacked out of the peloton with Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Victorious). Though they were caught, the injection of pace brought the leading group back to within just a few seconds.
At last, just 1,600 metres from the line, the catch was made after a powerful turn from Asgreen. Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) attempted to counter-attack, but the bunch remained intact, allowing Stuyven to lead-out Pedersen to victory.
1 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 4:37:04
2 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
3 Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
4 Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5 Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
7 Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
9 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
11 Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
12 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
13 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
14 Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
15 Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange
16 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
17 John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
18 Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
19 Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
20 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
21 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
22 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
23 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
24 Tom Paquot (Bel) Bingoal WB
25 Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
26 Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
27 Michael Gogl (Aut) Team Qhubeka Assos
28 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
29 Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
30 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
31 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:09
32 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:13
33 Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
34 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:16
35 Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:49
36 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:01:21
37 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:48
38 Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
39 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
40 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
41 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
42 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
43 Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
44 Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
45 Carlos Barbero (Spa) Team Qhubeka Assos
46 Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange
47 Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
48 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
49 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
50 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
51 Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
52 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
53 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo
54 Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
55 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
56 Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-QuickStep
57 Kamil Gradek (Pol) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
58 Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
59 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
60 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
61 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
62 Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
63 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
64 Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:56
65 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
66 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
67 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:59
68 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:02
69 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:05
70 Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:02:12
71 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:52
72 Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
73 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
74 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
75 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
76 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
77 Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
78 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
79 Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
80 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
81 Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
82 Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
83 Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
84 Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
85 Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
86 Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
87 Benjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
88 Andreas Nielsen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
89 Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
90 Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
91 Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Team DSM
92 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
93 Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
94 Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
95 Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
96 Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal WB
97 Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep
98 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
99 Etienne van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM 0:08:03
100 Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
101 Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
102 Arne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
103 Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
104 Edward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
105 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
106 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
107 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal WB
108 Boris Vallee (Bel) Bingoal WB
109 Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
110 Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
111 Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
112 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
113 Sander Armee (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
114 Ludwig De Winter (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNF Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Total Direct Energie
DNF Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNF Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNF Markus Pajur (Est) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNF Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
DNF Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNF Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNF Marco Brenner (Ger) Team DSM
DNF Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNF Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
DNF Leonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNF Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie
DNF Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
DNF Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
DNF Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNF Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNF Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNF Jakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
DNF Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNF Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
DNF Joab Schneiter (Swi) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
DNF Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
DNF Simone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
DNF Davide Orrico (Ita) Vini Zabu’ Brado KTM
DNF Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNF Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
DNF André Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
DNF Moreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
DNF Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo
DNF Mitch Docker (Aus) EF Education-Nippo
DNF Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
DNF Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
DNF Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
DNF Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNF Joel Suter (Swi) Bingoal WB
DNF Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNF Stephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
DNF Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
DNF Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNF Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-up Nation
DNF Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
DNF Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNF Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNF Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
DNF Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
DNF Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Gilles De Wilde (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie
DNF Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange
DNF Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNF Michal Golas (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
DNF Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNF Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis