Groenewegen wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Demare second, Colbrelli third

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) added another victory to his early-season success after sprinting to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. He led the reduced field sprint across the line ahead of Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).

Late-race breakaway riders Julien Duval (AG2R La Mondiale) and Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), joined by Loic Vliegen (BMC Racing) in the final kilometres, where pulled back into the fold by a charging reduced peloton led by Lotto Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo. Despite spending much of his energy in the breakaway attempt, Vermote hung on for ninth on the day.

Duval had initiated the move on the final lap and was joined by Vermote first and then Vliegen, who had already been on the attack earlier in the race. Vermote looked the strongest of the three as they held a slim advantage over the closing kilometres, but the peloton behind never appeared too troubled with FDJ taking control to set things up for Demare.

A rider well used to pulling on the front for hours on end, Vermote held out the longest and forged on in the hope that he might be able to pull off an upset, but he had no response when the sprinters began their dive for the line.

Groenewegen struck out first, catching Démare on the hop and putting enough distance between them to stop him from coming back.

Groenewegen was almost not in contention after he missed a big split in the bunch that saw riders such as Jasper Stuyven, Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin go up the road. Thanks to some solid work from his teammates and some help from Astana, who also missed out, he was given a second chance.

"We came into the Kwaremont and it all broke up. My teammates brought me back perfectly. When we got back, Stuyven was still a bit further up but we caught him and in the final kilometres I was able to put myself into the right position," said Groenewegen. "We were coming from behind with a fair amount of speed so I was able to come around Arnaud Démare. I do like these kinds of races and I like it when it is harder."

How it happened

Bright blue skies and big crowds welcomed the riders Kuurne on Sunday morning. Roger De Vlaeminck - winner in 1970 and 1971 – was one of those there after receiving the honour of firing the start gun. Seven riders dared to challenge the headwind that marked the first half of the race towards Brussels. The seven were Truls Korsaeth (Astana), Gedaminas Bagdonas (AG2R), Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates), Piet Allegaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis), Romain Cardis (Direct Energie) and Ben Perry (Israel Cycling Academy). It was the second day in a row that Van Bilsen featured in the long breakaway move, after going up the road at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

The seven leaders worked well together but didn’t gain much more than two minutes on the peloton. As the first hills started to feature, the gap started to come back down and quickly. Belgian champion Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) had a chain problem and lost a lot of time before receiving a new bike. The nervousness was rising as the often crucial long cobbled Oude Kwaremont climb approached. A high-speed crash in the descent towards the Oude Kwaremont included Trek’s sprinter Boy van Poppel and German champion Marcus Burghardt; Van Poppel abandoned the race.

On the Oude Kwaremont, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) upped the pace and stormed by most of the breakaway riders. Specialists Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac) were quick to get on his wheel. The trio exited the Oude Kwaremont together with breakaway survivors Bagdonas and Korsaeth.

The pace dropped and the five leaders allowed a large group to bridge across, creating a large leading group. On the following Kluisberg climb, Quick-Step Floors sprinter Fernando Gaviria struggled and dropped out of the group. A few moments later, Gaviria’s lead-out man Max Richeze punctured.

The first group of 21 riders gained a lead of more than half a minute on the main peloton. The move included fast men like Arnaud Démare (FDJ), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrein-Merida) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). The chase in the first peloton was led by the LottoNL-Jumbo team, whose sprinter Groenewegen had missed the cut.

The leaders reached the two-kilometre cobbled Varent street with an advantage of 25 seconds on the peloton. Lampaert led the group with Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida), Van Avermaet and Vanmarcke working too. All of the leaders, and most of the peloton, rode on the smooth path next to the cobbles. The pace in the peloton dropped away on the cobbles and the bonus grew up to a minute once off the cobbles. Astana charged forward in the peloton and brought the gap back down to forty seconds at Nokereberg, the final climb of the day.

Former winner Stuyven sneaked away at the top of Nokereberg and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) joined him up the road, while Démare opted to hold back and stay with the group. When passing through the Dwars door Vlaanderen finish town of Waregem, the two leaders had a lead of 20 seconds on the group and 45 seconds on the Astana-led peloton. The group sat up and was caught back by the peloton at 40 kilometres from the finish. The two leaders still had a bonus of 45 seconds when Oss punctured away at 33 kilometres from the finish. Stuyven picked up the prize money at stake at the finish line and hit the two local laps with a bonus of nearly a minute on the Bahrain-Merida-led peloton.

EF Education First-Drapac lost Modolo, when he crashed as the peloton rode through the centre of Kortrijk and looked to be in a lot of pain after hitting the tarmac hard. Meanwhile, Stuyven’s lead came down as Lotto-Soudal took the initiative when heading back to Kuurne. The move caused splits in the peloton and at 18 kilometres from the finish Stuyven was brought back.

There was a brief hiatus in hostilities as the peloton entered the final lap until two brief moves from Niki Terpstra and Guillaume van Keirsbulck. As the latter was brought back to the fold, Duval went clear on his own, soon to be joined by Vermote. The pair worked together, but Duval appeared to be struggling compared to Vermote and they began slipping back to the peloton. Vliegen saw his chance and joined the two leaders and helped them build a bigger advantage.

With some big sprinters behind, the three were not given much in the way of space out front. As they turned onto the final stretch, Duval was slipping back and Vermote made one last push. Once the fast men began sprinting, Vermote was quickly overhauled and Groenewegen had a clear run to the line. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo4:51:41 
2Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
3Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
4Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
5Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
6Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
7Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy  
8Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky  
9Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data  
10Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
11Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
12Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
13Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
14Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
15Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
16Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
17Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
18Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
19Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy  
20Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
21Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
22Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
23Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie  
24Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Bora-Hansgrohe  
25Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
26Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
27Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
28Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
29Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
30Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
31Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
32Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
33Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
34Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
35Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
36Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
37Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
38Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
39Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
40Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
41Julien Mortier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
42Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo  
43Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
44Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
45Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
46Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie  
47Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
48Mathias De Witte (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
49Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ  
50Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott  
51Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin  
52August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy  
53Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
54Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors  
55Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
56Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
57Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
58Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
59Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo  
60Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
61Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
62Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ0:00:17 
63Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
64Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
65Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
66Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
67Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
68Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:31 
69Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) FDJ0:00:33 
70Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky0:00:50 
71Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:20 
72Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
73Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:21 
74Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:03:52 
75Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
76Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
77Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida  
78Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
79Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
80Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
81Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  
82Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
83Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
84Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
85Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
86Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
87Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
88Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
89Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team  
90Truls Korsaeth (Nor) Astana Pro Team  
91Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNSSondre Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFGregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFKiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFBoy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFJonathan Dibben (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DNFChristopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFOwain Doull (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFMads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFBaptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFFernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFMaximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFSam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) FDJ  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFLucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFAlex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFAmund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFBert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFBram Tankink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFTimo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFIvan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
DNFMagnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team  
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFSimone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFFilippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFBen Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFEdvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
DNFNicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFRyan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFJay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFScott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data  
DNFBram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFArnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFBenoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFPierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFSVENDGAARD Michael Carbel  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFMaxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFJordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFMilan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFKevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPiet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFAaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFSimon Sellier (Fra) Direct Energie  

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