Cavendish wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne


Two wins in two days for the Brits as Mark Cavendish wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne for the second time

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Cavendish wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) used a little bit of improvisation in the hectic finale of 193km Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday, and finished the job of his hard working teammates with a victory to close out the Spring Classics opening weekend. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was 2nd, and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 3rd.

“I am super happy to win here in Kuurne,” Cavendish said. “Raced it two times and won it two times. Especially after the unfortunate result of yesterday, it was nice to get a win today on the Classics Opening Weekend”.

“The lads were super good. They committed 100 percent to me the whole day. We had a strong team here and they looked after me. Even in the front group that formed after the Oude Kwaremont, there were 19 guys there and we had five of our riders present”.

“I think we’re one of the strongest teams and this shows the strength and depth of Etixx – Quick-Step. You saw it yesterday too. I mean, sure they didn’t win, but it was still an incredible display of strength by the team”.


Pic: Paul Burgoine

“So, we did the same today and to be caught, and flip the table so everyone then became 100 percent committed to the sprint, it was great. Tom’s won here three times, but he said on the bus this morning that he’d be my leadout today. It could have been easy for him to want to go for his fourth win”.

“But to commit for the sake of the team, and do what we had to do to win a race here is nice. Everyone turned their eyes to today and it was a good atmosphere from before the race all the way to the finish line. As for the sprint, it was far from easy against guys like Kristoff and Viviani”.

“Kristoff is one of the best sprinters in the world and he is in super form. I’m proud to get a victory in my first sprint against him this year. It was hard all day and it wasn’t easy in the sprint. But I had great support from Etixx – Quick-Step and I’m happy to finish the job for the team.”

“I think we’ve had a dozen wins now, and this is already a fifth of what we had last year for the entire season. I’m happy that I’ve contributed six of them, including my overall victory in Dubai. Everything is going well and I’m super motivated with this kind of support from Etixx – Quick-Step”.

“Now I go next to South Africa for Cape Argus to represent Etixx – Quick-Step, and our partner Klein Costantia. It will be nice to go down there, see our owner Mr. Zdenek Bakala, and also support the charity action of MAD Charity. I will then come directly back for Tirreno-Adriatico. I am very happy with my form and we will see what happens next.”


Pic: Paul Burgoine.

Gilbert attacks

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) tried to thwart the efforts of various leadout trains inside the final 5km, attacking with 4.7km to go and getting as much as an 11″ advantage over the peloton with his surprising solo attack. But the peloton timed their effort well, and he was caught inside the final kilometer.

Because of the hectic chase, wind, and the parcours, the final few hundred meters became chaotic without any real control on the front of the peloton. Zdenek Stybar took Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish up near the front, and Cavendish then moved quickly to the wheel of Kristoff at the front before launching his race winning sprint.

Etixx – Quick-Step sealed the win after a day of playing protagonist. An attack by Sep Vanmarcke on the Oude Kwaremont, with Boonen on his wheel, led to a formation of about 19 or 20 riders that held a 38″ advantage with about 39km to go in the race.

The group included Stybar, Boonen, Nikolas Maes, Cavendish, and Yves Lampaert. But the group was eventually brought back in anticipation of a group arrival. Katusha controlled the front going into the final 10km, and Team Sky eventually swarmed the front before Gilbert launched his solo effort. Etixx – Quick-Step was one of several teams who had to chase hard to catch Gilbert.

Second placed Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) said afterwards “I felt really tired all day and I felt yesterday’s effort in the legs. In the final the team did a good job and brought me in a perfect position but Mark was just faster”.

“He didn’t race yesterday so maybe his legs were a bit fresher. I know Mark is fast, he’s one of the fastest guys in the world so to be beaten by him is really not too bad. Of course I wanted to beat him but maybe I’ll have another shot in Milano-Sanremo”.

“I will try my best and maybe I can beat him, – said the ever-optimistic Alexander Kristoff.

Third for Viviani

Joining them on the podium in the third position was Elia Viviani of Sky. “There was a lot of action on the Kwaremont and with me and Ian up front it was a good move.”

“I thought it would be okay if it went to the finish. Okay Cav and Kristoff were there but with 19 riders it is more simple if it ends in a sprint. When I saw the group coming back I knew we had to think only about the final sprint. We came to the front early with the whole team. It’s a Belgian race on narrow roads so we thought maybe it’s better to stay up front.”

“We lost some positions in the last corner and I needed to come from behind. I made it to the sprint and when I got there I thought maybe I’d go straight away as there was just 150 metres to go. But I was on the wrong side because there was a lot of wind coming from the right”.

“I came from behind so I had good speed but when Cav started his sprint he took some metres and in the final 50m I knew I was going to the finish line but not for the win.”

“I am really happy with my condition after two weeks on the track,” he added. “The road legs are good. We did 200km today in a strong Belgian race. I really like this event and the Belgian races. I finished third and I came from 20 positions back. I think it bodes well for the coming weeks. I have a big focus on Tirreno and the sprints there before Gent-Wevelgem. I want to try and come back and beat Cav.”


1. Mark Cavendish, Etixx – Quick-Step
2. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha
3. Elia Viviani, Team Sky
4. Tom Van Asbroeck, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Daniele Colli, Nippo – Vini Fantini
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker, BMC Racing Team
7. Jens Debusschere, Lotto Soudal
8. Kristian Sbaragli, MTN – Qhubeka
9. Raymond Kreder, Team Roompot
10. Matteo Pelucchi, IAM Cycling

51. Luke Rowe, Sky
53. Scott Thwaites, Bora
67. Ian Stannard, Sky

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