Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne 2010

February 28, 2010, Kuurne, BEL, Road - 1.1

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer
  1. 12:55:10 CET

    Welcome back to the second race of the Belgian season! Today we travel from Kuurne to Brussels and back to Kuurne, a total of 194 kilometers.

  2. 13:00:04 CET

    The weather could play a major role today. A storm system is moving up from France which brings strong rain and hurricane force winds. No telling at this point how it will affect the race today, but the possibility of problems is there. It was raining at the start.

  3. 13:02:42 CET

    Don't forget our competition to win a Cervelo musette bag and cap, signed by yesterday's runner-up, Heinrich Haussler. Just guess the top three for today – preferably in the right order, but today we will settle for the top three.

    The thread for the competition is here: http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?p=156490#post156490

    If you aren't a forum member, you can sign up here: http://forum.cyclingnews.com/index.php

  4. 13:06:19 CET

    A 16-rider group got away early, and it is now down to 12 riders. We don't have all the names, but do know that Gorik Gardeyn (Vaconsoliel), Gert Dockx (HTC-Columbia), Davy Commeyne (Landbouwkreidet) and Kevyn Ista (Cofidis) are in it.

  5. 13:09:27 CET

    That group only had about 20 seconds on the peloton, and now has been caught. The peloton has now split, with the first group about 20 seconds ahead of a 70-rider strong second group. The wind is definitely affecting things.

  6. 13:13:14 CET

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) wasn't at the start this morning. He banged his knee against his bike in yesterday's race, hurting it. According to the team, he could barely stand up after the race. So he is taking a break and will be off to find a doctor.

  7. 13:16:43 CET

    Also not at the start today were Sebastien Hinault (AG2R), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) and Francesco Di Paolo (Acqua & Sapone).

  8. 13:19:12 CET

    Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson was at the start today, and tells us he got soaking wet. “Riders and journalists were met with atrocious weather at the start this morning. Many of the riders were late to sign on with pre-race favourite Heinrich Haussler last of all.”

  9. 13:23:49 CET

    We have our first DNF of the day. Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) dropped out after a crash.

  10. 13:28:00 CET

    Daniel Benson talked to Cervelo DS Jens Zemke this morning. He said, “If you see the conditions, the weather and the storm coming up and rain then you know from the beginning that people will be going full gas to make it even hard. I think a lot of riders will pack. Our boys are alert and we’ll try and get them in a good position.”

  11. 135km remaining from 194km

    13:32:16 CET

    The peloton got back together, but has split again. A group of 44 is already 1:20 behind the main field. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) was originally in the last group, but was able to make his way up the front group.

  12. 13:38:16 CET

    The organisers have promised to keep a close eye on the weather, saying that of course they don't want to take any risks, and that the riders' security has the top priority.

  13. 13:45:00 CET

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) was second yesterday in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He told Daniel Benson this morning, “I feel pretty good actually. Iit was a hard race but I’ll give it a go today, that’s for sure.”'

    “I don’t think I’ve been in conditions as bad as this and it could split right after the start. The cross winds will be there all day and it wont be pleasant.

    I don’t enjoy those conditions, I don’t go to bed hoping it rains but I think I have a little bit of an advantage over other riders in this type of weather.”

  14. 73km remaining from 194km

    13:51:00 CET

    No big changes. The two groups are holding steady. Julien Fouchard ( Cofidis) tried to get away from the front group, but it didn't work out.

  15. 13:57:37 CET

    Nick Nuyens of Rabobank won here in 2006, but isn't sure how it will go today. “I’m not feeling super. It really hurt to come back three times yesterday but we’ll see how I feel after the start,” he told Daniel Benson. “Oscar (Freire) is in good shape and is one of the fastest guys.”

  16. 85km remaining from 194km

    14:06:00 CET

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) got a bit in front of the peloton, but didn't stay there long. Several riders have had to fall back out of the lead group, including Cervelo's Andreas Klier.

  17. 14:13:43 CET

    Brecht Decaluwé of Cyclingnews was also at the start this morning, and tells us:

    Due to the foul weather at the start riders were waiting until the last minute to get out of the team bus and sign on at the hippodrome in Kuune. The last fifteen minutes almost everybody stormed towards the podium, ending up in a long queue at the table.

    Eventually everybody was ready in time to leave at noon but some Cervélo riders were unsure whether or not their brakes were well installed. Jeremy Hunt asked Heinrich Haussler about it and together they tried to solve the problem, stressing out and questioning whether or not the levers should be up or not.

  18. 14:21:40 CET

    Nick Nuyens (Rabobank) was unlucky during the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as he flatted three times during the race. The last flat tyre occurred when he was in the decisive six-man breakaway group and he was thrown far back. "People also talked about Flecha that he was a rider who had the capabilities but never grabbed the victory. I hope that I can do what he did one day," Nuyens told Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé at the hippodrome in Kuurne this morning.

  19. 14:24:00 CET

    No sooner do we write about Nuyens, and what happens?  He abandons the race, as does teammate Joost Posthuma.

  20. 14:25:52 CET

    Well, here's a surprise! The next to drop out of the race is none other than Tom Boonen!

  21. 14:30:58 CET

    We're having a bit of trouble finding out what is going on in the race, so please bear with us.

  22. 104km remaining from 194km

    14:37:00 CET

    Things are happening. The peloton is exploded, lots of small groups. It is still a bit tricky to figure out who is where, but it looks like we have a 10 man group or so at the front.

    Lots and lots of DNFs today. Juan Antonio Flecha and Filippo Pozzato are the next to abandon.

  23. 14:39:29 CET

    OK, it looks like we have a group of eight or so in the lead, including Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo), Jürgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Thor Hushovd (Cervelo), Dominique Rollin and two Vacansoliel riders in the lead.

    A Cervelo rider has jumped out to try to join them -- Haussler, perhaps?

  24. 108km remaining from 194km

    14:40:00 CET

    Can we change that?  Have we said this is confusing?  Now we have a Vacansoliel rider alone in the lead, going up a cobble climb.

  25. 14:41:51 CET

    That would be Arnoud van Groen, of Vacansoliel.

  26. 14:42:32 CET

    Greg Van Avermaet has now abandoned.

  27. 14:45:20 CET

    RadioShack is actively leading the chase. Also in this chase group are Hunt, Roelandts, Hushovd, Hoste, Rosseler and Langeveld.

  28. 14:48:53 CET

    Van Groen has been caught by the chasers.  His teammate Bobbie Traksel is ahead in the lead.  We apologize again for the confusing situation.

  29. 14:52:00 CET

    We have a chase group of about 15 riders, including Stannard, Rast, Hoste, Langeveld and Hunt.  Then there is a third group, including Edvald Boasson Hagen.

  30. 14:53:20 CET

    Stannard takes off out of the chase group and tries to break clear.

  31. 14:54:29 CET

    Traksel looks good out there in the lead, spinning a small gear.  The Dutch rider ought to be used to this kind of weather.

  32. 14:55:29 CET

    Ian Stannard of Sky is now 41 seconds behind Traksel, with the chase group about 200 metres behind him.

  33. 14:56:09 CET

    It may be the middle of the afternoon, but you would never guess it.  It is as dark as it can be, with rain. The wind is not too awful, at least at the moment.

  34. 14:59:31 CET

    Stannard is still chasing.  The group with Hushovd is now about a minute back.  Another group with Boasson Hagen, Haussler and Chavanel is nearly two minutes back, and the peloton is at 2:30.

  35. 15:00:56 CET

    It was surprising to see Oscar Freire Gomez at the start in Kuurne and maybe he was motivated to do well because of his compatriot Flecha's victory one day earlier. "It's the second time I race here actually," Freire told Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé. Freire was the last rider to cross the line in the stormy edition of 2003 when his former team-mate Roy Sentjens won the so-called donkey race. With the headwind on the way back to Kuurne riders will be reluctant to attack, offering chances to the sprinters.

  36. 15:01:36 CET

    A Cervelo rider, Hunt, is having a problem on the cobblestones.

  37. 15:03:14 CET

    We will have a change in the course. The Cote du Trieu has been scrapped. The climb would have been 70 km before the finish. The winds have knocked a tree down over the road.

  38. 15:06:52 CET

    The Haussler group has now been caught by the peloton.  Not sure if Boasson Hagen is there or not.  Meanwhile, Ian Stannard has been joined by a Rabobank rider.

  39. 15:07:00 CET

    Stannard and the Rabobank rider are about to catch Traksel.  The Rabo rider is Rick Flens.

  40. 15:10:00 CET

    Apparently Rosseler (RadioShack) has crashed.  Not surprising, given the weather and conditions.

  41. 15:11:14 CET

    Brett Lancaster (Cervelo) is the next to jump from the group.

  42. 15:11:49 CET

    Rosseler is going again and is moving his way up through the team cars.

  43. 60km remaining from 194km

    15:12:56 CET

    Flens, Stannard and Traksel now have a 1:30 lead.

  44. 59km remaining from 194km

    15:14:38 CET

    The lead trio is working well together and building up a nice little lead.

  45. 15:17:36 CET

    Lancaster has now been caught by the group again.  Chavanel and a Quick Step rider have been able to move up into the group, which is now being led by Cervelo.

  46. 15:18:43 CET

    The course change shortens the race 20km. They've also had to take down the inflatable banners that are the km markers in the last few miles because of wind.

  47. 15:20:00 CET

    Two Cervelo riders have broken off from the chase group, with a very slight lead.  The group is probably about 15 strong now.

  48. 15:22:00 CET

    The two Cervelo riders are Hunt and Hushovd, and they have been joined by Hayden Roulston.

  49. 15:23:09 CET

    Roulsten is now with HTC-Columbia, but used to ride with Cervelo.

  50. 52km remaining from 194km

    15:26:15 CET

    The trio of chasers is pulling away, and the field is too disorganized to give chase.

  51. 15:27:05 CET

    If you look at the six leaders (two groups of three) you will notice -- none of them are Belgian......

  52. 50km remaining from 194km

    15:28:58 CET

    50 km to go for the leading trio, on these wet and slippery roads.

  53. 15:30:22 CET

    The three leaders now start up the Nokereberg -- up the wet cobbles in the pouring rain, what fun!

  54. 15:31:53 CET

    The good news is that this is the last climb of the day.

  55. 15:33:14 CET

     A huge trash can has blown into the street and taken down Stijn Devolder.  A teammate gives him his bike. The trash can stays in the road.  Hope someone removes it before more riders come by.

  56. 15:34:09 CET

    The first large chasing group now makes its way up the climb.

  57. 45km remaining from 194km

    15:37:03 CET

    There are about 15 riders in the large chase group, and once again, a Cervelo rider takes off out ot it.

  58. 15:37:51 CET

    It is Dominique Rollin of Cervelo, who is hoping to move up to join teammates Hunt and Hushovd.

  59. 15:40:35 CET

    We haven't heard about the peloton in a while. Wonder if they are still there?

  60. 15:42:35 CET

    It is beginning to look more and more as if our winner will come from one of the first six riders.  Or will the chase group get its act together enough to catch them?

  61. 15:44:28 CET

    Another rider has broken from the chase group.  It looks like Davy Commeyne of Landbouwkrediet.

  62. 15:52:22 CET

    No changes.  The first three are still together, the second three are still together.  Everyone else is probably wondering why there are out here in this not-so-lovely weather.

  63. 35km remaining from 194km

    15:54:36 CET

    The largest chase group is now 3:46 back, with 35 km to go.

  64. 15:56:40 CET

    Hm, the chasing trio is now a duo.  Hunt has just abandoned the race.

  65. 15:59:10 CET

    The first riders are going through Harelbeke now.

  66. 15:59:55 CET

    The Vacansoliel team car moves up to Traksel for a short visit.

  67. 16:02:11 CET

    The Belgian Quick Step team wasn't very lucky on Saturday. Boonen flatted out of the favorites group together with Maarten Wynants, Stijn Devolder wasn't there at all and Sylvain Chavanel could not make the difference alone. "I was there but that was it," Chavanel said to Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé in Kuurne. "I can still progress so I'm not worried. I haven't got much time left though as my first real goal is Paris-Nice," Chavanel added.

  68. 16:06:17 CET

    The three leaders cross the finish line for the first time and set off on the first of two laps of a closing circuit course.

  69. 16:07:14 CET

    Roulston and Hushovd are about 40 seconds back.

  70. 16:09:32 CET

    Once again, we had four former winners at the start today: Tom Boonen, Nick Nuyens, Roy Sentjens and George Hincapie. None of them will have anything to do with today's outcome.

  71. 16:10:00 CET

    Rollin finally makes it to the finish line, 3:48 down.  There is a small chase group at 4:20, looks like 5 or 6 riders.  More groups dribbling along after them.

  72. 16:11:00 CET

    Rollin may not be in at the win today, but he is giving his best.  Read more about him here:  http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/rollin-confident-ahead-of-kuurne-bruxelles-kuurne

  73. 16:13:02 CET

    This closing circuit runs through Kuurne, Kortrijk, Harelbeke, and back to Kuurne.

  74. 172km remaining from 194km

    16:16:00 CET

    Hushovd is at his team car, getting a drink.  Is Roulston pulling away? 

  75. 16:17:29 CET

    This is not Cervelo's day.  Hushvod is still by the team car, not making any effort to follow Roulston.  Looks like he has been dropped.

  76. 16:18:16 CET

    There are troubles everywhere:  n the GP Lugano, the race was shortened by a lap after a car got on the course going in the opposite direction of the race and hit Simon Spilak.

  77. 16:18:59 CET

    It looked as if Hushovd had given up hope, but he has finally separated himself from the team car and is in pursuit of Roulston.  Will he make it, or did he leave it too long?

  78. 16:20:06 CET

    Over at GP Lugano, a bunch of riders pulled out, perhaps in protest. Roberto Ferrari (De Rosa Stac Plastic) won the race ahead ofJure Kocjan (Carmiooro NGC) in a photo finish. Giampaolo Cheula continued Footon Servetto's strong start with third, while Maxime Bouet (Ag2r) was fourth.

  79. 176km remaining from 194km

    16:22:00 CET

    It looks more and more as if one of the leading trio will take it.  Roulston has fallen to 51 seconds back.

  80. 16:25:00 CET

    16 km to go for the leading trio.  They are probably thinking of the warm drinks and dry clothes waiting for them at the finish. 

  81. 16:27:00 CET

    Flens, Traksel and Stannard are approaching the end of the first lap of the circuit.  Roulston is holding steady at 56 seconds back.

  82. 16:27:20 CET

    It's the bell lap for the trio.

  83. 16:29:18 CET

    The Rabobank team car has moved up for a quick word with Flens.

  84. 16:30:49 CET

    Hushovd is way back, just crossing the line at 2:54.  Up ahead, Flens thinks it would be a good idea for his companions to share the lead work, and he lets them know that.

  85. 16:33:36 CET

    The rest of the fiield is now hitting the finish line, in little groups.

  86. 9km remaining from 194km

    16:34:55 CET

    Only 9 km to go. Will the three let it come down to a sprint, or will one of them try to break away?  Who, and when?

  87. 16:35:43 CET

    Flens goes!  The others give chase.

  88. 7km remaining from 194km

    16:37:36 CET

    The leading three are together again.  Stannard closed the gap, but is looking a bit ragged.  Traksel has had it easiest, is he going to be the freshest at the end?

  89. 16:38:36 CET

    Stannard is the next to try his luck.  But the other two stick right to him.

  90. 16:39:33 CET

    Lots of looking back and forth and wondering what the other guy is planning....

  91. 16:40:02 CET

    Stannard was planning his next attack.  He has a slight lead over the other two.  Can they not follow?

  92. 5km remaining from 194km

    16:40:30 CET

    Yes, they can.  They catch him again.

  93. 16:40:54 CET

    Traksel hasn't tried anything yet.  He may well be biding his time.....

  94. 16:42:00 CET

    Traksel leads the trio now, but looks back frequently over his shoulder.  Flens takes off again.

  95. 16:42:42 CET

    Traksel quickly catches Flens.  Stannard is a few meteres back.

  96. 16:43:18 CET

    The two Dutch riders would be happy to dump the Briton. Of course, they would be happy to dump each other, too.

  97. 3km remaining from 194km

    16:43:59 CET

    The three are together again. Stannard makes a slight move, but the others shoot that idea down.

  98. 16:44:22 CET

    Stannard tries again, but again to no avail.

  99. 16:45:36 CET

    It looks as if the long day and bad weather have taken their toll.  None of the three seems to have the power left to get away.

  100. 16:46:38 CET

    Flens goes again, with Traksel on his rear wheel.  Stannard can't keep up, and the two build up a quick lead.

  101. 16:47:56 CET

    The two leaders couldn't maintain their lead, though, and all are together.  Stannard has noticeable done the least amount of lead work.

  102. 16:48:28 CET

    The Briton gives it another go, and the trio goes togehter into the final km.

  103. 16:49:10 CET

    Traksel is able to dig down and find a burst of speed, taking the victory by a few metres ahead of Flens and Stannard.

  104. 16:49:43 CET

    Roulston is fourth at 59 seconds.

  105. 16:50:19 CET

    Our provisional results are:

    1 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Vacansoleil
    2 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank
    3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky

  106. 16:52:27 CET

    Rollin and Hushovd approach the finish line together.  They cross it at 2:58 down,

  107. 16:53:29 CET

    This race was blown so far apart, who knows when the rest of the field will come in!

  108. 16:54:09 CET

    Congratulations to Bobbie Traksel, but also to Rick Flens and Ian Stannard.  And to all the other riders who managed to suvive and finish the race.

  109. 16:55:56 CET

    That was it for the opening weekend of the Belgian season!  We had two surprise winners  -- is this a foreboding of what the coming season will be like?

    Thanks for joining us and readlng along.  Be sure to join us again for our next live report at Milano-Sanremo next month.

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