Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2016 race overview
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, taking place the day after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, forms part of what is widely referred to as the 'opening weekend' - a duo of Belgian semi-classics that signal the true and proper start of the traditional cycling season.
Both races take place in the West Flanders region of Belgium, and while Omloop on the Saturday starts and finishes in Gent, Sunday's race is centred on the small village of Kuurne on the outskirts of Kortijk, nearer the French border.
Last year Mark Cavendish took his second victory in the race and the parcours is better suited to the sprinters than the more selective Omloop, with 50 kilometres separating the finish line from the final climb. That said, there are still 11 climbs on the 200.7km course - including famed Flanders helligen like the Oude Kwaremont, Kruisberg, and Tiegemberg - not to mention several sections of cobblestones.
What's more, the weather conditions rarely make matters straight forward; the 2013 race had to be cancelled due to snow, while the 2010 edition was struck by a cyclone and only 26 riders finished the race.
Many of the riders who did Omloop on the Saturday will feature in Kuurne, and world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) is set to be one of the star attractions, not to mention a race favourite. Defending champion Cavendish (Dimension Data) will skip the races as he prepares for the World Track Championships in London, but three-time winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) will line-up, along with Tour of Flanders champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
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- Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Start list
- Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne overview, highlights, winners and previous editions