Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Win for Mads Pedersen

After a super agressive race with the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Jhonnatan Narvaez, the race came down to a bunch sprint and victory for former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo)

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Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Win for Mads Pedersen

After a super agressive race with the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Jhonnatan Narvaez, the race came down to a bunch sprint and victory for former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo)

In 24 hours, Trek-Segafredo went from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the podium. There was little to say after the team went missing in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a 63rd place their best result in the opening classic they won in 2020. “Always let the legs speak and not make silly excuses,” agreed Pedersen. “I think we did it in the right way with the win today.”

There may have been many questions raised after Saturday’s dismal performance, but in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen combined to give the best response. “It was super nice to finish it off today and make a result after yesterday. What can we say? We messed up pretty hard and it was pretty bad, so it’s nice to show that we are there,” said Pedersen, pulling no punches. “We don’t want to see that team of yesterday, that’s for sure.”

After Mathieu van der Poel’s audacious attack with over 80 kilometers remaining, Jasper Stuyven made the next key move on the Oude Kwaremont, accelerating at the bottom and helping create a strong chase group. With 55 kilometers to go and a dangerous Mathieu van der Poel still out front with over a minute, the race was on.

“I was actually sitting on Mathieu’s wheel when he went, but it was quite early, so I didn’t even want to follow. Then when the group went on the Kwaremont, my position was okay, but I was not quite good enough to follow,” admitted Pedersen. “It was a good situation for us with Jasper in the first group. He can do a really good sprint and his chances were good too, so actually we were quite happy as it was with the two groups.”

And that’s how it remained until eight kilometers from the finish when the two chase groups merged and the breakaway with Van der Poel was finally contained a few kilometers later. A late crosswind section was the last hurdle, and Stuyven and Pedersen played it well, hiding and waiting.

“We knew there was a crosswind section before the final straight, and of course we didn’t want to get dropped there, so Jasper placed us well, not full in the front, but up there. And then it was just about waiting game, and in the finish straight, Jasper timed it perfect. Super nice from Jasper today,” said Pedersen. In the sprint, Stuyven led out Pedersen, who won by over a bike length. “It’s a strong field here – chapeau for Mathieu for trying and they almost made it, but today it was not in the breakaway’s favor, it was in ours,” ended Pedersen.

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Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) (3rd) – sprinted to a superb third in a bunch kick at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Pidcock backed up a strong showing at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with a mature performance which saw him sprint to the podium behind race winner Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) after his teammate’s attack was denied with two kilometres remaining. “I didn’t feel good all day, I think yesterday was still in my legs a bit so I’m pretty pleased with that. Third place in a bunch sprint? Not my specialty but I’ll take that”.

“I’m pleased with that and I have picked up form much quicker than I thought, I had a break after cross, and it bodes well for the next few races I think. It was not as difficult as it could have been to transition from cross to road, I kept some form from the cross season. I think today I got an easy ride as Jhonny was away, and I did my job to help him win, but today makes up for yesterday. Yesterday I had much better legs, but I didn’t do anything with it.”

Anthony Turgis (2nd) “I went into battle and knew my legs hurt, but they did the job. In a sprint like this, this was the best I had in me. I chose the right side of the road to sprint and Trek-Segafredo threw it over that side too. I am happy that I also chose that side. “He (Mathieu van der Poel) is a great rider, but still human. He also weakened a little. We knew we would get him back because we worked well in the chase. It was not easy, that’s true, but it happened in the last kilometres.”

Turgis, who came fourth in the Tour of Flanders in 2020, “Every Flemish course suits me. The feeling is very good, also because there are many top players here. It is not easy, but we did manage to show ourselves. We wanted to achieve a good result this weekend and I hope that we also succeed in Le Samyn. My goal is to have a good level during the coming classics. Depending on the circumstances, every Flemish race suits me, but Paris-Roubaix is ​​also beautiful. ”

Matteo Trentin (UAE Emirates, 4th): “I’m quite happy with the performance today, I followed the right moves and tried to be in the right place at the right times. It’s a pity to miss out on the podium by such a small margin. The guys coming in the group behind were a bit fresher and I had been quite active throughout the race. After this first classics weekend we have a strong platform to build on and take confidence knowing that the physical condition is good.”

Nils Politt (7th, Bora hansgrohe): “Today we showed yet another example of fantastic team work, with Maciej and Patrick in the leading group. Patrick rode very well there and looked to be very strong. This allowed Ide and me to save our energy somewhat in the group behind, and to let the other teams do the chase work. Ultimately, I have to say that the guys supported me very well today, and I think that we can be satisfied with the seventh place that I was able to take as a result. It was quite close in the end, but it was a successful weekend, and I’m happy with not only my own performance, but that of my teammates who worked hard the whole opening weekend. I’m sure we can continue along this path at our upcoming races.” –

Jhonatan Narvaez (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s not just the people – I impressed myself as well! I wanted to make myself happy and I have done that. I prepared really well for these races and it’s nice to race in Belgium. You are always fighting for position, the roads are different… It’s really nice to be here. I was a little afraid before my first race on the cobbles. It is not easy, to start racing on them – but, well, it looks like I can do it! The plan was always to attack there anyway, and that’s when Van der Poel went too. I enjoyed every moment, until the last kilometre when they made the catch. I really enjoyed riding with him, it was full gas.”

John Degenkolb: one of the strongest riders in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but the German leader of Lotto Soudal could not turn that into a good result. In the final sprint, Degenkolb finished only seventeenth. “We have made a good race with the team, but in the end it was not rewarded with a good result”, he responds. “It was a fight to the very end. We really had to pull out all the stops to close the gap with the leading group. The front runners were very strong, ”says Dege.

“I am a bit disappointed, as the result today does not reflect what I was able to do,” he continues. “I felt very strong and during the sprint I still had some energy left, but unfortunately I was a bit too far back at the last corner. With a serious package of riders in front of me, I could no longer get a top result.

Tim Wellens not happy with performance: “I didn’t reach my normal level”. “It really wasn’t good, no. Yesterday Phillip Gilbert saved us with a fifth place. Today we luckily had Frederik Frison and John Degenkolb in the front. But I certainly cannot be satisfied with my own level. Yesterday I was in a good position when turning up the Molenberg. But I couldn’t follow. Today I was too far back on the Oude Kwaremont when the peloton exploded. That’s a shame, I expected a lot more from it. But I’m not going to worry right now either. I was super good in Bessèges, then also in training. Only this weekend is disappointing, but the season is still long.”

Tim Merlier (38th) The sprint leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​saw the race broken open early by teammate Mathieu van der Poel, and then missed the battle on the Oude Kwaremont himself. “The feeling is good, but I’m not riding red hot” said Merlier. “My feeling was good today,” he says. “On the Kanarieberg, where Mathieu went, I had some doubts about going myself. But after Mathieu was gone, I rode my own pace and kept calm. It was still good on the Kruisberg, but I couldn’t find my rhythm on the Oude Kwaremont. I was also far too far back, but not bloc. I just couldn’t get over it. I’m good mentally, so I’m already looking forward to Le Samyn. ”

After the Kwaremont, Merlier got into a chasing group with Arnaud Démare and the eventual winner Mads Pedersen. Due to a crash that group broke up, after which Pedersen returned and Démare and Merlier did not. “I tried one more time to jump to the next group, but I just came up short”, he looks back. The fact that Pedersen wins later makes Merlier disappointed. “That is certainly frustrating, because more could certainly have been possible. When you see that Pedersen is still driving there after the crash… I should have reacted earlier. If I had done that I would have been there, but that is say afterwards” Merlier finishes.

Greg Van Avermaet (8th): The classics star is critical of his performance on the Flemish opening weekend. The leader of AG2R Citroën finished eighth on Sunday in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: “Looking at the results, we were not very good this weekend, but we were well ahead of the game. We have to take that with us to the next races”, said Van Avermaet.

“It was difficult to get into position for the Kwaremont”, he describes the run-up to the final.

“We were where we needed to be, because I was in the second group with Oliver Naesen. We did a lot of work to get closer, but there were only six or seven riders willing to participate. In the end we did get them, but the finish was immediately after that. Where necessary, we were in the race with the strongest riders. Achieving a result was not easy after that, but I still achieved a top 10 through my sprint”, the experienced leader indicates.

“I think Nieuwsblad was not normal”, Van Avermaet looks back on the weekend. “Kuurne went as usual. A leading group that is retrieved and then a sprint. I was a little disappointed after yesterday, because normally I’m better on those days. But I have to get confidence from my shape this weekend. It’s pretty good, and I felt better at the end. That is a good sign.”

Strade Bianche is on the program for GVA next week. “I hope to do well there, it is a difficult race, because the opposition is also very good. But I like the parcours there. After that Tirreno-Adriatico is a nice stage race to build on. I have already won stages there.”


1. Mads Pedersen Trek-Segafredo 4:37:04
2. Anthony Turgis Total Direct Energie
3. Tom Pidcock INEOS Grenadiers
4. Matteo Trentin UAE Team Emirates
5. Jenthe Biermans Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Sonny Colbrelli Bahrain Victorious
7. Nils Politt BORA-hansgrohe
8. Greg Van Avermaet AG2R Citroën Team
9. Bert Van Lerberghe Deceuninck-Quick Step
10. Erik Resell Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

12. Mathieu van der Poel Alpecin-Fenix
21. Tiesj Benoot Team DSM
29. Jhonnatan Narvaez INEOS Grenadiers
37. Arnaud Démare Groupama-FDJ @ 1:48
40. Alexander Kristoff UAE Team Emirates
51. Daniel McLay Arkéa-Samsic
67. Yves Lampaert Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 1:59
74. Tim Wellens Lotto Soudal @ 4:52
86. Owain Doull INEOS Grenadiers
98. Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck-Quick Step


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