As can often happen in the Belgian opening weekend, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne was won by one of the big teams who had missed out in Het Volk. Today saw the first ever victory for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team as George Hincapie comfortably beat the young Kevin Van Impe (Chocolade Jacques) in a two man sprint. The pair had attacked with 6 km to go at the end of a tough, wind-blasted 190 km, with no-one in the remaining peloton having an answer. And despite having eight men (the whole team) in the front group of 32, Davitamon-Lotto missed the boat again and had to settle for third with Bert Roesems.
Hincapie became the first American to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, adding to his 2001 win in Gent-Wevelgem and 2004 win in the Driedaagse van De Panne. "It was a super hard race in nasty, cold and windy conditions," Hincapie said. "It was a battle all day. At the end, every was so completely dead from the wind and all the attacks that there was no control at the front."
"I didn't know much about him," Hincapie said of Van Impe. "Dirk said he was good and I still had enough left. I didn't feel great following yesterday. I felt great yesterday (finishing 30th at Het Volk) and was there on the last climb but we still had 65 km to the finish. Today I was feeling that effort but still had enough to finish it off."
"For sure, George likes to race in this area, even in the cold conditions," said Discovery Channel director Dirk Demol, who is from this area of Belgium. "Wevelgem is only around 10 kilometres from here and de Panne is another 50 or so kilometres, so this seems to be one of his favourite areas.
"We were trying to make the race hard," said Demol. "Like yesterday (at Het Volk), although the final result wasn't great, the performance of the team was strong. Today, we seemed to always have someone in a good position, which helped for the final. I ordered the boys to try and spread the peloton and it worked well, putting us in a good situation at the end."
Towards the finish, Demol said he told Hincapie and Devolder to save their energy for the final. Devolder then attacked five or six times in the last 15 km: "He killed (Quick Step's Tom) Boonen alone," said Demol and Roulston covered another acceleration just before Van Impe attacked and Hincapie joined him in the winning move.
"It's a nice win for us," said Demol. "From what I saw, almost everyone is on a very good level. This weekend was our first big test and winning today was great."