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Cavendish sprints to Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne win

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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