Home » Wout van Aert majestically wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on debut after a monster escape with Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano

Wout van Aert majestically wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on debut after a monster escape with Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano

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How did the victory come about?

This Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne will go down as the edition in which Wout van Aert came and oversaw. The leader of Visma-Lease a Bike managed the entire race on his own. The only riders who could keep pace were Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano, the Monaco-based Limburg leader of UAE-Team Emirates and the Spanish champion of Movistar. Or three fighter jets that already flew from the Côte de Trieu to Kuurne.

Four kilometers from the finish, Wellens tried to outwit his fellow escapees on the left of a small roundabout, but Van Aert was immediately in his wheel, while Lazkano came back at his own pace. Lazkano launched himself after the last corner, but that was for nothing. So it became a three-way sprint in which the Spaniard started in the lead, but Wout van Aert won easily.

The rest were minutes behind. Just over twenty kilometers from the finish, the three pursuers were already three minutes behind. Please! Although the large group had approached Mohoric, Pithie and Jorgenson strongly when entering the last loop (12.5 km). Ultimately, the three pursuers were caught a handful of kilometers from the end. Which gave us a group sprint for fourth place, which was easily won by Christophe Laporte. In the Omloop het Nieuwblad, Tratnik and Van Aert achieved first and third place; now it was spots one and four with Van Aert and Laporte.

Visma-Lease a Bike took advantage of the Hameau de Papins (95.9 km from the finish) to stage the first coup of the day. The six of them took the lead and the wind tore the peloton into three pieces. In the run-up to the Bourliquet they had already captured the five escapees.

Van Baarle then took care of the Bourliquet. The Dutch champion went so fast that there were only fourteen more in the leading group: also Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Matteo Jorgenson, Tiesj Benoot, Toms Skujins, Biniam Girmay, Tim Wellens, Matej Mohoric, Oier Lazkano, Luca Mozzato, Julian Alaphilippe , Pierre Gautherat and Fred Wright.

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On the Mont Saint-Laurent (88 km from the end), Wout van Aert rode so fast that Luca Mozzato and Fred Wright quickly flew off. The Herentals player hammered so hard that only Oier Lazkano, Tim Wellens and Laurence Pithie could keep up with his pace.

Van Aert looked around and saw that he was the only one in his team and refused to continue for a moment, because the pursuers included Dylan van Baarle and Christophe Laporte. But the Spanish champion kept accelerating. On the Hotond (76 km from the finish) the quartet was already 55 seconds ahead.

Matej Mohoric understood that he was behind the times for the second day in a row and together with Matteo Jorgensen he tried to correct a crooked situation, but that was more of a ‘chasse patate’ because six kilometers further there was another quarter minute.

On the Trieu (69 km from the finish), Van Aert flew away from behind Lazkano’s back, but Wellens was immediately in the wheel while Lazkano had more difficulty. But we did lose the young New Zealander Laurence Pithie from Groupama-FDJ. Then there were still three of them. After the Kluisberg, the thirteenth and final slope of the day, the trio had 53” on Laurence Pithie and 1’15” on the tandem Mohoric-Jorgensen. 2’15” later, Campenaerts came through alone, having broken away from the Alaphilippe group. At just over 50 km from the finish we had a trio at the front with Van Aert, Wellens and Lazkano and with Mohoric, Jorgenson and Pithie a trio that was already within two minutes.

What happened at the beginning of the match? Nothing. Not even an early attack. However, some riders crashed on the narrow roads left and right. Including Toms Skujins, Christophe Laporte and, among others, Riley Pickrell, who would give up a little later. On Saturday, the young Canadian from Israel-Premier Tech was still in attack.

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© BELGIUM

Only before the Bossenaarsstraat, the fourth of the thirteen slopes, did we finally get a breakout worthy of the name: the Belgians Dries De Bondt (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Dstny), the German Jonas Koch (Bora-hansgrohe ), the British Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) and the Croatian Fran Miholjevic (Bahrain-Victorious) were the five escapees who quickly amassed a 3’10” lead, but after the Hameau des Papins they were out of luck. They were swallowed up by the first part of the peloton at 94 km from the end.

What did the Belgians do?

After Wout van Aert, Tim Wellens was the Belgian of the weekend. He already showed off his sublime form on Saturday by crossing the Muur to the head of the race. His twelfth place was not immediately a reflection of his form, but in Nils Politt he had a teammate who rode for the victory. In Kuurne, the Limburger Wout van Aert did not release a fin. He thus proved that UAE-Team Emirates did not see it wrong to appoint him as leader for the cobbled classics.

There were also Belgians à la Gerben Thijssen who hoped that – just like in 2022 with Fabio Jakobsen – it would come to a sprint as the winner. But Thijssen came into the picture far too early, and in a lesser context. The Limburg sprint bomb was one of a group of riders who fell on a narrow road. Wearing a torn Intermarché-Wanty outfit, he continued his way, although it took a while before he was back on his bike.

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Dries De Bondt (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) was the first attacker of the day, but the attempt did not go far. It set off a barrage of attacks, yes.

Jasper Stuyven was parked on the Bourliquet, which is not exactly his habit, because Kuurne is normally a race that suits him. And yes, he ended up finishing tenth.

Lionel Taminiaux (Lotto Dstny) became the third Belgian in the results. The man who is normally in the lead out train of Arnaud De Lie, who was absent this time, finished eighth.

Jordi Meeus was happy that he was able to rejoin the peloton after a crash just before the three hills of Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing. The Limburger hoped in vain that the peloton would beat the escapees.

Anything else you should know?

Jonathan Milan, one of the many contenders, was absent in Kortrijk. The ‘Giant of Buja’ became ill during the night from Saturday to Sunday. The Italian had expected a lot from the opening weekend, but it turned out to be ‘niente’ twice.

While farmers stood neatly grouped left and right in the fields in the final of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, honking their horns to make their grievances known, they were visible even before the start in the center of the starting city of Kortrijk. The riders navigated between the tractors an hour before the start. It was also the first time in the history of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne that the start was not held in the Donkey Municipality. Kortrijk paid a lot to bring the start of the second part of the opening weekend to the Groeninge city.

There were a lot of falls. Biniam Girmay, Toms Skujins, Jordi Meeus… dozens of them arrived bruised and bruised or did not make it to Kuurne.

© BELGIUM

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