Mads Pedersen wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) defeated Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) in a bunch sprint to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

The race ended in a bunch sprint, but only after a long, tense chase as a leading quintet including Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) battled resolutely to stay out in front.

The catch was only made 1,600 metres from the line, after which the lead-outs began and Pedersen had the biggest kick to win by a couple of bike-lengths.

A large sprint finish was far from a foregone conclusion from the moment Van der Poel burst out of the peloton along with Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers), over 80km from the finish. The duo caught up to the day’s earlier breakaway, and, after a few of the weaker members had been dropped, formed a cohesive quintet with Artyom Zakharov (Astana Premier-Tech), Patrick Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X) that almost made it to the finish together. 

Pedersen was a comfortable winner in the sprint that followed, sprinting for clear victory after being led out by teammate Jasper Stuyven. 

Earlier in the day, it had looked as if he, plus many of the other sprinters, had already been dumped out of contention, after a large group of around 20 riders - among them Greg Van Avermaet, Dylan Teuns and Matteo Trentin - broke clear on the cobbled sections.

However, this group was caught by a peloton featuring Pedersen, and together they eventually managed to reel in the five-man leading group just in the nick of time. 

How it unfolded

The second half of cycling’s Flemish ‘Opening Weekend’, the 2021 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne began on a mild afternoon without a cloud in the sky. 

Artyom Zakharov (Astana Premier-Tech), Ludwig De Winter (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and the Bora-Hansgrohe duo of Maciej Bodnar and Patrick Gamper attacked at the start of the day.

They were soon joined by Tom Paquot (Bingoal Wallonie Bruxelles) and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X) to form the day’s six-man breakaway group.

UAE Team Emirates took it upon themselves to lead the peloton, no doubt hoping for a bunch for their leader Alexander Kristoff, and the race remained calm during the first half of the race while they set the pace.

The calm was rudely disrupted at 83km to go when Van der Poel, whose Alpecin-Fenix team had just taken a few turns leading the peloton, launched an attack with Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers). 

Victor Campanaerts (Qhubeka Assos) failed in his attempt to join them and form what would have been a formidable trio, but the presence of Van der Poel alone was enough to cause alarm bells in the peloton.

They quickly opened a lead of about one minute over the peloton, and, although they had to slow down for a short time as Van der Poel appeared to have a problem with his gearing, it continued to grow.

As the wind picked up a little and the riders climbed the Cote du Trieu, Deceuninck-QuickStep forced the pace in the peloton to temporarily cause a few splits, while also neutralising an attack from Jenthe Biermans (Israel-StartUp Nation).

By the Oude Kwaremtont at 63km from the finish, Van der Poel and Narvaez were just 30 seconds behind the break, and held a lead of 1:30 over the peloton. 

The breakaway began to split into pieces on that climb, with De Winter going ahead and Van der Poel and Narvaez catching the stragglers. There was also a selection made in the peloton on the climb, with work from first Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and then Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) thinning it out. 

By the time De Winter was reeled back in by the rest of the breakaway, their lead over the peloton was still around 1:30, but quickly fell to just one minute as the chase picked up in the peloton.

Aware of this, Van der Poel upped the pace again on the Kluisberg, dropping all but Narvaez and Hvideberg, although Zakharov and Gamper managed to rejoin a little later. On the same climb in the peloton, Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious) attacked, although sat up when no-one managed to follow his wheel to be swallowed up by a group which by now contained around only 20 riders.

With the gap between the leading group and the chasers having stagnated at about 50 seconds, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) attacked from this group on the final cobbled section, 35km from the finish. He failed to break up the group, but did bring the gap down to under 30 seconds. 

Behind, several teams including Qhubeka Assos and Bahrain-Victorious were working well together to bring back a larger group into contention. As the riders reached the finish line for the first time, 16km from the finish, these three groups had almost come back together, with only around ten seconds separating the five-man lead group and the chasers, and only around another ten seconds between them and the third group on the road.

The second and third group merged with 12km left to ride, but the five leaders continued to stubbornly hold their lead of ten seconds, with Van der Poel inevitably doing most of the work. Rather than come down as the larger group behind chase, the gap in fact began to rise again, exceeding 20 seconds 7.5km from the line.

The chasing group could see the leaders on the long, straight roads of the final kilometres, but continued to struggle to make inroads. 

With less than 4km to go, Kasper Asgreen attacked out of the peloton with Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Victorious). Though they were caught, the injection of pace brought the leading group back to within just a few seconds.

At last, just 1,600 metres from the line, the catch was made after a powerful turn from Asgreen. Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) attempted to counter-attack, but the bunch remained intact, allowing Stuyven to lead-out Pedersen to victory. 

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 4:37:04
2Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
3Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
4Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
6Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
7Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
9Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
11Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
12Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
13Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
14Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
15Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange
16Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
17John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
18Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
19Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
20Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
21Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
22Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
23Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
24Tom Paquot (Bel) Bingoal WB
25Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
26Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
27Michael Gogl (Aut) Team Qhubeka Assos
28Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
29Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
30Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
31Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:09
32Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:13
33Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
34Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:16
35Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:49
36Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:01:21
37Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:48
38Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
39Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
40Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
41Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
42Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
43Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
44Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
45Carlos Barbero (Spa) Team Qhubeka Assos
46Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange
47Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
48Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
49Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
50Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
51Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
52Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
53Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo
54Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
55Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
56Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-QuickStep
57Kamil Gradek (Pol) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
58Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
59Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
60Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
61Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
62Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
63Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
64Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:56
65Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
66Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
67Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:59
68Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:02
69Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:05
70Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:02:12
71Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:52
72Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
73Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
74Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
75Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
76Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
77Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
78Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
79Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
80Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
81Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
82Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
83Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
84Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
85Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
86Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
87Benjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
88Andreas Nielsen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
89Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
90Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
91Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Team DSM
92Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
93Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
94Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
95Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
96Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal WB
97Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep
98Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
99Etienne van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM 0:08:03
100Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
101Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
102Arne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
103Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
104Edward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
105Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
106Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
107Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal WB
108Boris Vallee (Bel) Bingoal WB
109Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
110Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
111Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
112Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
113Sander Armee (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
114Ludwig De Winter (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFEdvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Total Direct Energie
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFConnor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFMarkus Pajur (Est) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFSilvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFLionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFMarco Brenner (Ger) Team DSM
DNFBert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFSasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFNiccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
DNFLeonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFNiki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie
DNFEthan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFMax Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFJens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFRyan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
DNFClément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFJakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFJoab Schneiter (Swi) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFSimone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFDavide Orrico (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFSøren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFAndré Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo
DNFMitch Docker (Aus) EF Education-Nippo
DNFJonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
DNFMarcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
DNFTobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
DNFBoy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFJoel Suter (Swi) Bingoal WB
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFStephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFMads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFFabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFStefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
DNFAndreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
DNFGerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFGilles De Wilde (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFFlorian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFDries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie
DNFDion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNFMichal Golas (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFSzymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis

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