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61st Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - 1.1

Belgium, March 2, 2008

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De Jongh puts icing on Quick Step's cake

Langeveld left for second while Dutchman wins for second time in Kuurne

By Gregor Brown and Brecht Decaluwé in Kuurne

Steven De Jongh profited from a super strong Quick Step performance
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Dutchman Steven De Jongh put the icing on the Quick Step cake by going free in the finale of the 61st Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and winning the two-up sprint against 23 year-old Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank). The 34 year-old, winner in 2004, was part of the successful move that formed when all six of his team-mates put the hammer down at 80 kilometres remaining of the 193-kilometre semi-classic. Australian Matthew Goss (Team CSC) finished third over last year's winner, Tom Boonen (Quick Step), and Italian Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas).

The finale was marked by attacks from Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) and De Jongh's team-mate Gert Steegmans, but it was the rider who first made his mark in the 1999 Tirreno-Adriatico that took advantage of the final move of his younger compatriot when riding free at more than one kilometre out. With Quick Step members breathing down the duo's back, De Jongh played cool until the final 150 metres to open his sprint from off the left side of Brugsesteenweg. "What could I do, but follow," De Jongh said of the team tactics.

"We're used to that pressure in our team," confirmed De Jongh to Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé. "The last time I won here I was very nervous and I remember I was shouting to my team-mates that they had to keep it all together because nobody would beat me; it was cold and wet day and eventfully I beat Bettini and O'Grady in a bunch sprint."

"Second place was the highest result possible," said the young second place finisher. "I knew that De Jongh was faster in the sprint. I asked him once to take pulls, but he didn't want to, understandably. I decided to continue and go full out. Quick Step could gamble on Boonen. Much more than this second place wasn't realistic for me, but I'm happy with my race and my weekend." He finished over six minutes back in yesterday's Omloop Het Volk.

World Champion Paolo Bettini was not there to help with the Quick Step team tactics due to a crash at kilometre nine. After the crash, the 33 year-old Italian abandoned the race; he is reported with pain on his left shin and an aching back, but nothing serious, according to the team's press agent, Alessandro Tegner.

Somewhere in there is the World Champion
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

It took some time, after the turn-around point in Brussel, but finally an escape formed. A nine-man move formed before the first of the closing seven hellingen containing Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Jeremy Hunt (Crédit Agricole), Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom), Grégory Habeaux (Mitsubishi-Jartazi), David Kopp (Cycle Collstrop) and Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto). It was the first three, Italian Quinziato, Goss and USA's Cozza, that showed they had the biggest engines for the day by continuing to fight when the Quick Step bridged with 69 kilometres remaining.

Goss played his cards well in the finale to arrive on the podium in Kuurne. While Quick Step was charging, Hoste, Langeveld and Frederik Willems (Liquigas) attacking, the 21 year-old rider from Tasmania kept his head down and legs 'fresh.' for the sprint. "It was a long day," said Goss. "I am not sure if I could have won against Boonen, but maybe one day I can win [a race like this]."

"I was in the attack from the eightieth kilometre on but still managed a third place; it was indeed a long day for me. The third pro did what he could when Quick Step roared past, "On the Oude Kwaremont I managed to hitch my wagon on the Quick Step train." He concluded on a high note, "there'll be a day that I sprint for the victory. This was only my second race of the season. I love these races; I'm happy with this result."

While Goss lacked team support, Quinziato had Willems and Enrico Franzoi for support. "Yesterday, it did not go so well for me and so for this reason, today, I anticipated to go in the escape," the 28 year-old explained. "However, it was really an exhausting experience because I was having stomach problems all week and the legs, unfortunately, don't do so well like this. ... For the next races I hope to recuperate and arrive here in a month, ready to do battle at 100 percent - in De Panne and Flanders." His next race will be Tirreno-Adriatico.

Just like in Het Volk the day before, new outfit Slipstream-Chipotle made the key move of the day. Michael Friedman worked wonders for the argyle squad 24 hours previously and today it was the turn of Steven Cozza, who is most recognisable by his moustache. The rider who turns 23 years old tomorrow, fought back a hunger-knock after being dropped in the Nokereberg to finish strongly for the USA Professional Continental team of Jonathan Vaughters.

"It was a good day, but tough," said Cozza. "For sixty kilometres I did not have water or food because the cobblestones knocked them out on the Oude Kwaremont; that was very tough. Finally, with 20 kilometres to go I pounded down three water bottles and five Clif Shots."

"After the chase bridged up to us, the group of around 30 split in half on a crosswind section. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, without gas." Cozza, like Quinziato, will race in the Tirreno-Adriatico next.

How it unfolded

194 riders rolled out of the start in Kuurne at 12.00; not starting were Bert Grabsch (High Road), Marcel Sieberg (High Road) and William Frischkorn (Slipstream Chipotle - H30). Cloudy skies and blustery winds faced the riders, who were wearing vests while the temperatures were around 8°C.

And off they go
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Bettini did not have the best start to his classics season; he crashed yesterday behind Wilfried Cretskens (Quick Step), but was able to finish; however, today, he went down in an incident at kilometre nine with Adam Hansen (High Road), Aivaras Baranauskas (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel). The 33 year-old Italian preferred to call it quits rather then ride to Brussel and back.

Sixty-five kilometres into the race, at an average speed of 51 kilometre per hour, the peloton, which was just on the outside of Ninove city centre, was still complete. Bart Dockx (Silence-Lotto), Geert Omloop (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and Martin Velits (Team Milram) crashed at a roundabout, just after the first helling of the day, the Edelareberg. The race had travelled the farthest east it would go, to the Brussel turning point. It was now heading back towards Kuurne, with seven more hellingen; the La Houppe (km 91), Kanarieberg (km 99), Kruisberg (km 103), Oude Kwaremont (km 110), Cote Du Trieu (km 124), Tiegemberg (km 135) and Nokereberg (km 146).

With 107 kilometres to go, before the La Houppe, a move finally had formed off the front of the peloton: Quinziato, Pauwels, Goss, Cozza, Hunt, Clerc, Habeaux and Kopp. The nine-man move had 1'30" in hand and looked to be the day's escape. It was whittled down when Clerc, Kopp, Habeaux and Hunt found the going too tough on the La Houppe as they drifted out the back; this was the same climb where Quick Step had hammered the day before in Omloop Het Volk.

And it was appropriately this super-team, Quick Step, was leading the charge towards the foot of the Oude Kwaremont. The boys had to redeem themselves for yesterday's complete blow-out, and with no one in the escape it was crushing the gap. With 80 kilometres to go, in Breuk, the five men only had 32 seconds in hand.

The gap was closed on the Kwaremont. Silence-Lotto was now making some noise with Quick Step on the front of peloton, charging its way up the 1200-metre pavé climb. Big Steegmans went to the front and hit the turbo to blow the chase apart; Belgian Champion Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) was there with a select group of ten that was now picking up the escapees.

The group of 11, with five Quick Steps, now had about 12 seconds. The race was charging and reshaping on the way to the 2200-metre Mont du Trieu. In the move with Quick Step's Boonen, Steegmans and Devolder were Cozza, Hoste, Goss and Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank). The gap to the front runners was closed, at 69 kilometres remaining, leaving the group of nearly 30 being chased by a Cofidis-led peloton at 50 seconds back.

Serguei Ivanov (Astana) gave up trying to bridge the growing gap to the lead group of nearly 35 riders. "They tried to control all day, but it is good, they are a strong team," he confirmed to Cyclingnews after the race. "And given the situation now, for the team it is very important that I am in top position for these races."

The race was now going full bore – led by the boys in white and blue – towards the 3100-metre Tiegemberg and the finish in Kuurne. Quick step had all of its men on the front working to stretch out the race and drop the weak. From the order of the train – at 57km to go and 1'29" lead – it looked like Devolder and Boonen were the protected riders.

With 50 kilometres and the Nokereberg to go, Liquigas was putting its green machine into gear. Enrico Franzoi and Frederik Willems were hitting the accelerator for sprint-ace Manuel Quinziato. Robert Amadio's boys were helping to thin out the bunch by dropping riders, including former winner Roy Sentjens (Silence-Lotto).

Not your average winner's trophy
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Coming off the 300-metre Nokereberg, the game was looking grim for many; early escapee Steven Cozza was finally shown the back door with Milram's Markus Eichler.

Quick Step's charge continued over the next ten kilometres; the team wanted the win, and it was to be sure that some of the riders in the chase group at 1'10", like Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), did not make it back to the front. The lead group, just over 20, also included Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux), Christophe Mengin (Française des Jeux), Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel), Frédéric Amorison (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) and Bobbie Traksel (P3Transfer - Batavus).

The tension was rising, and with about 16 kilometres to go Jalabert hit the deck when his tire got caught in a concrete gap. The Frenchman bridged back, but just as Flecha decided to launch a move. It did not work, but it signified the beginning of the end. Willems led a small group of five riders with Devolder; they were pegged back right as Guesdon went.

Langeveld then launched his first attack at eight kilometres to go, but Quick Step was quickly back in control. Flemish Favourite, Hoste, then fired at six kilometres remaining, and Steegmans' reacted for Quick Step. This seemed to be the winning attack, but with Willems and Amorison closing it did not last.

Langeveld gave it his final push with De Jongh in tow. The boys were able to hold on to their freedom to fight out the win on Brugsesteenweg.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Nicolas Götz/www.sport-phot.com


1 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step                         4.27.03 (43,362 km/h)
2 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank                          0.02
3 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team CSC                                 0.04
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                                     
5 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas                                   
6 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop                               
7 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                       
8 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC                                    
9 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel                                
10 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner           
11 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step                               
12 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française des Jeux                      
13 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Française des Jeux                     
14 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank                             
15 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step                                
16 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step                                
17 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas                            0.12
18 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas                            0.18
19 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step                            0.29
20 Leif Hoste (Bel) Silence-Lotto                             0.40
21 Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel) Quick Step                       4.03
22 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel                               4.49
23 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française des Jeux                         
24 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream Chipotle - H30                   
25 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                        
26 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r-La Mondiale                          
27 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence-Lotto                           4.56
28 Martyn Maaskant (Ned) Slipstream Chipotle - H30            4.57
29 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Agritubel                                 
30 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Silence-Lotto                             
31 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                              5.07
32 Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram                               
33 Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana                                      
34 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole                             
35 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom                      7.38
36 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                        
37 Jurgen François (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team       
38 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team         
39 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Agritubel                               
40 Jacob Nielsen (Den) Glud & Marstrand Horsens                   
41 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des Jeux                       
42 Kenny Van Braeckel (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team    
43 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2r-La Mondiale                          
44 Wim Botman (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                          
45 Frederik Nolf (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                        
46 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                       
47 Kristof De Zutter (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team     
48 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner               
49 Wouter Mol (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                          
50 Detlef Moerman (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team        
51 Roger Hammond (GBr) High Road                                  
52 Fredrik Johansson (Swe) Differdange-Apiflo Vacances            
53 Jarno Van Mingeroet (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                   
54 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Crédit Agricole                            
55 Michael Friedman (USA) Slipstream Chipotle - H30               
56 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner          
57 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus) Cycle Collstrop                        
58 Jason Donald (USA) Slipstream Chipotle - H30                   
59 Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                    
60 Loyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale                            
61 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence-Lotto                             
62 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                   
63 Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Team Milram                                 
64 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana                                    
65 Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil-Shimano                               
66 Emilien-Benoît Berges (Fra) Agritubel                          
67 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale                       
68 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                              
69 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Rabobank                                    
70 Anders Lund (Den) Team CSC                                     
71 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                               
72 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana                                     
73 André Greipel (Ger) High Road                                  
74 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Slipstream Chipotle - H30             
75 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                        
76 Martin Velits (Svk) Team Milram                                
77 Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream Chipotle - H30                   
78 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          
79 Bas Giling (Ned) Cycle Collstrop                               
80 Bart Vanheule (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                        
81 Michal Golas (Pol) Cycle Collstrop                             
82 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                           
83 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team CSC                               
84 Kenny Van Der Schueren (Bel) Cycle Collstrop                   
85 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            
86 Mikel Gaztañaga Echeverria (Spa) Agritubel                     
87 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale                          
88 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Willems Veranda's Continental Team      
89 Francis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto                           
90 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                   
91 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux                    
92 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                 
93 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                   
94 Allan Johansen (Den) Team CSC                                  
95 Jurgen Van Loocke (Bel) Willems Veranda's Continental Team     
96 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux                     
97 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis                            
98 Yohann Gène (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                             
99 Renaud Dion (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale                             
100 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                   
101 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner          
102 Martin Müller (Ger) Team Milram                               
103 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Cycle Collstrop                            
104 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Astana                                   
105 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis                                
106 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner             
107 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole                       
108 Andreas Klier (Ger) High Road                                 
109 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC                                 
110 David Kopp (Ger) Cycle Collstrop                              
111 Igor Abakoumov (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                       
112 Stefan Van Dijck (Ned) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                     
113 Huub Duyn (Ned) Slipstream Chipotle - H30                     
114 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                           
115 Grégory Habeaux (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                      
116 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                       
117 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux                   
118 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                           
119 Enrico Poitschke (Ger) Team Milram                            
120 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française des Jeux                        
121 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Skil-Shimano                          
122 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank                                   
123 Benjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner           
124 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                
125 Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole                   
126 Bastien Delrot (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole                  
127 Florian Vachon (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole                  
128 Ger Soepenberg (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                     
129 Marco Marcato (Ita) Cycle Collstrop                           
130 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis                                
131 William Bonnet (Fra) Crédit Agricole                          
132 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Cofidis                                  
133 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus                    
134 Kevin Ista (Bel) Agritubel                                    
135 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                    
136 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Crédit Agricole                             
137 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Crédit Agricole