Cavendish sprints to Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne win

Second Kuurne victory for Manxman

Mark Cavendish claimed his second win in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne after out-sprinting Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) on Sunday, saving Etixx-QuickStep’s blushes after the team's capitulation Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite. 

One of the beautiful aspects – and there are many - to the opening weekend of racing in Belgium’s cauldron of cobbles is that teams can quickly make amends for mistakes they’ve made in the first race. And Etixx-QuickStep, with Cavendish providing an exemplary lesson in sprint tactics – helped the team exorcise their demons with a win that will have done his contractual position at the team the world of good.

Cavendish was everywhere he needed to be during the race – first making contact with a dangerous break that formed on the slopes of the Côte de Trieu and then, more crucially, on Kristoff’s wheel with 200 metres to go. Even when Etixx did falter – eventually running out of gas in the last kilometre – Cavendish swooped to edge out Kristoff.

“The team were incredible the whole day. We talked this morning and Wilfried Peeters didn’t think I could make but the riders all believed in me,” Cavendish rather controversially said after crossing the line before returning to a more expected party line. “We went full gas on the Oude Kwaremont but there was a headwind so the group was always going to come back. Then it was up to me in the sprint.”

With Katusha controlling the front of the peloton for most of the two final circuits through Kuurne, Etixx were forced to burn matches as they tried to position Cavendish where he needed to be. Trentin lost contact with just over five kilometres remaining and when Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) launched an dangerous attack and quickly gained 11 seconds, the sprinters' teams were forced to respond.

Having controlled the most telling break of the day, cracks in Etixx’s train were beginning to understandably surface but Cavendish used his experience as well as his speed to make sure he was positioned on Kristoff’s wheel.

“We used our guys too early because of the headwind in the last corner. Tom [Boonen] went to go but I already left him to go onto Kristoff’s wheel. I thought that was better. I knew it was going to be hard but I’ve been going well all year. I’m super proud to get this victory for Etixx QuickStep.”

Pride for Cavendish but relief for Patrick Lefevere who had found himself on the back foot last night after Ian Stannard had singlehandedly taken apart his team in Omloop, a feeling that Cavendish will not doubt remind his boss of when the pair sit down for contract negotiations later this year. Next stop, as Cavendish confirmed is Milan-San Remo, and another shoot out with the defending champion, Kristoff. All roads lead to via Roma.

How it unfolded

On a cold, fresh morning the peloton regrouped on Sunday with the majority of yesterday’s players returning for act two of the opening weekend in Belgium.

It took over 30 kilometres for the opening break to forge clear with Mattia Pozzo (Nippo - Vini Fantini) Sjoerd van Ginneken (Team Roompot), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Xandro Meurisse (AN Post), Fredrik Backaert, Dimitri Peyskens (Team 3M), Thomas Vauborzeix (Veranclassic-Ekoï) Eugert Zhupa (Southeast Pro Cycling) jumping clear.

Over the first climbs the eight-man move maintained a three-minute lead over a peloton that had elected for Katusha and Etixx to position a man each on point.

A relative armistice was maintained until the bunch reached the Côte de Trieu, where Tom Boonen and Sep Vanmarcke both accelerated from the field. They brought riders with them but by the time the race hit the next climb of the Oude Kwaremont weaknesses in the main field were exploited once more with both Etixx and Vanmarcke’s LottoNL-Jumbo team creating a group of 19 riders.

Etixx were well represented with Boonen and Cavenish among their troop, Vanmarcke had one teammate, Gilbert another, Kristoff was on his own, while Ian Stannard had Team Sky’s Elia Viviani for company. On another day it may been enough to settle the race but with such a long run in to the finish – 51km from the crest of the final climb of the Nokereberg to the finish – and with MTN, Cofidis and AG2R in hot pursuit, the group could only manage to establish a lead of just over a minute.

By now the remnants of the break were being picked up in their ones and twos and when the break of Vanmarcke and Boonen was eventually brought to heel the chances of a bunch sprint looked all but certain.

The only rider unwilling to read from that script was Gilbert, who tore off with just under five kilometres of racing remaining.

Katusha, Team Sky, and then Lotto Soudal took turns of slowly pulling the BMC rider back but the effort took its toll with fragmented leadouts emerging from the final corner. Katusha and Kriftoff still looked to be in the best position as Viviani remained in contention but locked onto Kristoff’s wheel was Cavendish and Etixx’s much needed victory.


#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step4:29:00 
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
3Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
4Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
5Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
6Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
7Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
8Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
9Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot  
10Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling  
11Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
12Antoine Demoite (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
13Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka  
14Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
15Kevin Ista (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
16Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling  
17Nicolas Vereecken (Bel) Team3M  
18Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
19Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18  
20Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
21Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
22Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar:04 
23Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Soudal  
24Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
25Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
26Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
27Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
28Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
29Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
30Sean Downey (Irl) An Post - Chain Reaction  
31Johan Le Bon (Fra)  
32Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha  
33Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
34Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
35Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
36Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
37Michael Vingerling (Ned) Team 3M   
38Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast  
39Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
40Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
41Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
42Dimitri Peyskens (Ger) Team 3M  
43Daniel Schorn (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
44Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
45Sébastien Chavanel (Fra)  
46Olivier Chevalier (Fra) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
47Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team Roompot  
48Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
49Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
50Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
51Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
52Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
53Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18  
54Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
55James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
56Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra)  
57Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
58Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
59Michel Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot  
60Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
61Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
62Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
63Alessandro Malaguti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
64Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
65Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
66Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN - Qhubeka  
67Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
68Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
69Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
70Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka  
71Julien Stassen (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
72Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
73Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
74Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
75Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar:25 
76Tom Goovaerts (Bel) CCT p/b Champion System  
77Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step:30 
78Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
79Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
80Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
81Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
82Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
83Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky:42 
84Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky:44 
85Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal:47 
86Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits:51 
87Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
88Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Team Roompot  
89Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
90Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
91Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha  
92Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
93Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha  
94Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar1:28 
95Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
96Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
97Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha1:50 
98Xandro Meurisse (Bel) An Post - Chain Reaction1:55 
99Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
100Reinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot  
101Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
102Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
103Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits2:35 
104Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky2:43 
105Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal2:59 
106Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling6:07 
107Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFChristopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMarcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFSimon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFVicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling  
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra)  
DNFAnthony Geslin (Fra)  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra)  
DNFYoann Offredo (Fra)  
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFJonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFFlorian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFDylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFAndré Looij (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFIvar Slik (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFTheo Bos (Ned) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFShane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFRalf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFTomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFNikolay Mihaylov (Bul) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFGrzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFMateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFJaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFMarek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFEduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFMattia Pozzo (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFAntonio Viola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFNicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFRiccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFYauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFMatthieu Boulo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFFrédéric Brun (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFMaxime Cam (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFChristophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFRomain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFDaniel Mclay (GBr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFTom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
DNFGaëtan Pons (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
DNFLudwig De Winter (Bel) Wallonie - Bruxelles  
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast  
DNFRafael Andriato (Bra) Southeast  
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast  
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast  
DNFDarijus Dzervus (Ltu) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFJoshoa Haggerty (Nzl) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFSuguru Tokuda (Jpn) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFMorten Gadgaard (Den) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFYuma Koishi (Jpn) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFTanzou Tokuda (Jpn) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFMathew Zenovich (Nzl) CCT p/b Champion System  
DNFFrancesco Van Coppernolle (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFEdwig Cammaerts (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFJustin Jules (Fra) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFDavid Desmecht (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFNiels De Rooze (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFSerge De Wortelaer (Bel) Veranclassic - Ekoi  
DNFJordan Stannus (Aus) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFConor Dunne (Irl) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFAlistair Slater (GBr) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFJens Vandenbogaerde (Bel) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFAlexander Maes (Bel) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFPaulius Siskevicius (Ltu) An Post - Chain Reaction  
DNFGertjan De Vos (Bel) Team 3M  
DNFConnor McConvey (Irl) Team 3M  
DNFTim Van Speybroeck (Bel) Team 3M  
DNFJake Tanner (GBr) Team 3M  
DNFJimmy Janssens (Bel) Team 3M  


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