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"I might have to wait a bit and look at the teams of the really fast guys. I usually choose a wheel, but the teammates are just used to having Greipel on their wheel. I'm not yet as strong as he is."

Photo: Lotto Soudal








01.03.2015 @ 19:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the second part of the Belgian opening weekend, ended with a bunch sprint. Mark Cavendish won, Belgian champion Jens Debusschere finished seventh. First Marcel Sieberg and Kris Boeckmans were part of a front group of nineteen, afterwards Lotto Soudal decided to go for the sprint.



Around noon the riders started the race of 195 kilometres. There were nine hills on the course. At the end the riders had to cover two local laps of fifteen kilometres. The early breakaway consisted of eight riders, with two guys who rode for the Lotto Belisol U23 team last year: Xandro Meurisse and Dimitri Peyskens. On the Oude Kwaremont Sep Vanmarcke escaped from the peloton. Kris Boeckmans joined him, together with Tom Boonen and Zdenek Stybar. More riders bridged, also Marcel Sieberg. This group reeled in the members of the early breakaway at sixty kilometres from the end.


Other names in the new front group of nineteen, apart from Lotto Soudal riders Boeckmans and Sieberg, were Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Alexander Kristoff, Ian Stannard, Sep Vanmarcke and Elia Viviani. The peloton didn’t give up, teams like MTN Qhubeka, Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise and Wanty Groupe Gobert led the chase. At 34 kilometers from the end the leaders were caught. Katusha, the team of Kristoff, took control of the bunch and there were no new attacks. With five kilometres to go Philippe Gilbert jumped away. He stayed in front till the final kilometre. It was Marcel Sieberg who led the peloton at that moment, setting up the sprint for Jens Debusschere. The Belgian champion eventually finished on place seven. The victory was for Cavendish, he beat Kristoff and Viviani.


"But I can not be satisfied," Debusschere told Sporza. "We started the lead-out too early and that did not go well. But the teammates did everything to put me in a perfect position. We sat right in front, but the wind was a disadvantage, and we were perhaps a little too early in the front. But better too early than too late. "


"I might have to wait a bit and look at the teams of the really fast guys. I usually choose a wheel, but the teammates are just used to having Greipel on their wheel. I'm not yet as strong as he is


"If I get a little faster and the races goes like today, then I can win here in Kuurne. But this is the first edition with me where we get here with so many riders. It's not often to have this kind of sprint."


Debusschere now goes to Tirreno-Adriatico to prepate for the next Flemish races. "After that I have Dwars door Vlaanderen in the program and that is a race that I have marked in red.


“I was riding on the front rows of the peloton on the Kwaremont," Sieberg said. "There was a gap which I and some others closed in the descent. That way I got in a breakaway with Kris Boeckmans. Kris and I didn’t pull too much because Etixx – QuickStep had five guys in the group. It thought we could make it, especially with such strong riders. We didn’t know for sure how big the group behind us was and who’d do the work. There was a lot of headwind on the way to Kuurne, that was no advantage for us.



“The peloton closed the gap just before the start of the two local laps. Our whole team was still present, so we decided to put all on the sprint for Jens Debusschere. We came to the front in the last five kilometres. It was quite windy but we managed to stay together. I set up the sprint with one kilometre to go and led Greg Henderson and Jens Debusschere to 500 metres. Because of my acceleration I closed the gap on Gilbert. I have a good feeling after this Belgian opening weekend, better than last year. Now I’m going to Paris-Nice.”



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