The 2012 edition of one-day semi-classic Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne resulted in a first win - and the corresponding donkey trophy - for world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky Procycling) at the sprinter's festival. Arch-rival André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was in a perfect position to bring his first win home in Kuurne but in the end the Gorilla got boxed in and was left behind with nothing but frustration on a missed opportunity to beat Cavendish.
"I would have beaten Cavendish for sure," Greipel stated.
The German strong man was showing his good form throughout the race, even putting in an acceleration right after tackling the Nokereberg, the last climb of the day.
"After my wins at the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Oman I had a lot of confidence. Also today I felt good, powerful. Only on the [Oude] Kwaremont I struggled a bit because I was too far," Greipel said. In the final 50 kilometers Sky Procycling, working for Cavendish, took control of affairs and dominantly led the peloton towards a bunch sprint. "It couldn't have been better. The team worked hard for me and I was perfectly on the wheel of Cavendish. At 300 meters from the finish line I knew I would win," Greipel said. In a fraction of a second that ideal situation turned around and a few seconds later Greipel rolled over the line in 10th place.
"I saw them coming on the right. Then [Kenny] Van Hummel swerved from right to left. I didn't have any more space and my sprint was over. I waited two seconds too long to accelerate and got boxed in. It's all decided in a fraction of a second. I should've gone earlier," Greipel concluded.
After a third place last year, Greipel once again fell short in Kuurne and the 29 year-old will have to wait another year before getting another chance to claim top honours - and the donkey trophy - in the Kuurne sprinter's festival.