61st Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - 1.1
Belgium, March 2, 2008
Complete live report
Live commentary by Bjorn Haake
Welcome back to Cyclingnews'
live coverage. We are still in Belgium, this time for the 1.1 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
The weather is pretty much as yesterday, but a few more clouds in the sky. The
race is held in the same region as Het Volk. In fact, one of the eight hellingen
to be done by the riders today has been in yesterday's race. The Kruisberg will
be tackled just after the half-way point. And the big question is, what will
Quick Step do? They won this race last year with Tom Boonen, but looked a little
There were three non-starters today.
Bert Grabsch (High Road), William Frischkorn (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) and
the runner-up of last year, Marcel Sieberg (High Road). The start was given
at 12:01 local time. There have already been a few crashes: At km nine, Paolo
Bettini was one of the victims and he dropped out of the race. In the same crash
Adam Hansen (High Road), Aivaras Baranauskas (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Nicolas
Jalabert (Agritubel) and Mickael Larpe (Roubaix Lille Metropole) were badly
injured. They all get transported to the hospital in Kortrijk. We hope they
will be OK and the injuries are not too serious.
14:14 CET 90km/103km to go
The situation right
now is that a group of nine riders is away. It consists of Manuel Quinziato
(Liquigas), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Steven
Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Jeremy Hunt (Crédit Agricole), Aurélien Clerc
(Bouygues Telecom), Grégory Habeaux (Mitsubishi-Jartazi), David Kopp (Cycle
Collstrop) and Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto). They have an advantage of 1'43",
with still over 100 kilometres to go. That will be some tough riding for the
The current race situation is good
news for Bastian, who was asking about David Kopp yesterday. The Collstrop rider
is in the front group. But they are are just now tackling the second helling
of the day. It's the La Houppe.
Can Tom Boonen defend his title?
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
The first little rise, or helling,
of the day was the Edelareberg, after 23 kilometres. The peloton went over it
still compact. A couple of kilometres later, another crash on the testing Belgian
streets reduced to peloton even further. Bart Dockx (Silence-Lotto) had to give
up, as he and Geert Omloop (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and Martin Velits (Team Milram)
hit the deck at a roundabout.
14:28 CET 100km/93km to go
No, we are not missing
an 's' at the end of Brussel, as this is the Flemish spelling. The u is pronounced
like the German umlaut 'ü' Sort of like the 'y' in mythical.
Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto) is in the
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
The lead has slightly dropped, to
1'30". Helling number three is passed, the Kanarieberg. Laszlo Bodrogi
is leading the peloton over the short uphill section. The peloton is not worried
about the gap right now.
After 51 kilometres, the average speed
was 51km/h! It make it really hard for breakaways to form. Even a larger group
of 25 tried and couldn't get anywhere. This caused a lot of crashes, too. Bart
Dockx (Silence-Lotto), Geert Omloop (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and Martin Velits (Team
Milram) hit the deck at a roundabout. Dockx had to abandon the race, the other
continued, slightly banged up, though. Eventually, the tail wind turned into
a headwind, which made things more interesting, and the nine-man group got away.
Current race situation
- Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Matthew
Goss (Team CSC), Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Jeremy Hunt (Crédit
Agricole), Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom), Grégory Habeaux (Mitsubishi-Jartazi),
David Kopp (Cycle Collstrop) and Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto)
- Peloton at 1.30
14:42 CET 116km/77km to go
Quick Step must have
heard some word from their DS yesterday. They are now hammering on the front
and it has caused a split in the main bunch. Jurgen Van de Walle is driving
the it. Lottos is near the front as well, lending a hand, too
Tom Boonen shouts instructions to
Van der Walle, while team-mate Gert Steegmans takes over at the front. The break
hits the Oude Kwaremont. This is a tough climb, and very rough.
Stiijn Devolder is near the front
again. We saw him briefly yesterday, but he didn't have a good day. The break
is now near the top of the climb. There are only seven now.
14:48 CET 118km/75km to go
Quick Step completely
blows the race apart! Four of them have already reached the break, which has
splintered on the climb.
Coming off the cobbles, back onto
the main road, an Agritubel rider goes down. Quick Step is now driving the break.
It is about 15 men in front, five of them from Quick Step, including Boonen,
Devolder, Steegmans! A first chase group contains only about the same amount
14:53 CET 123km/70km to go
The second group has
gotten a bit bigger, but the gap is more than half a minute. Boonen is encouraging
his team-,mates to keep powering. Tommeke also takes pulls himself. It almost
looks like a team time trial.
14:56 CET 126km/67km to go
The effort of Quick
Step wasn't enough and the big group of chasers has now caught up with the Quick
Steppers. However, the main peloton is still 50 seconds behind.
14:59 CET 127km/66km to go
The field is hitting
the sixth climb of the day, the cote du Trieu. The gap is still 48 seconds.
Attack by Serguei Ivanov (Astana)!
He sits comfortably in first spot, then does a hard acceleration, initially
not even going out of the saddle. He quickly gets a good gap. An Amateur rider
has slipped in-between Ivanov and the Quick Step-led group.
15:06 CET 132km/61km to go
The riders go through
Berchem. The speed from Quick Step is so high now that not everyone can follow
the pace and there i a split in the front group, right down the middle.
Unfortunately we can report one serious
injury so far today. Bart Dockx has a broken hip following his crash early today,
his team Silence-Lotto has reported.
In the mean time, the lead
of the front group, which has become one big unity again, has increased to 1'15"
15:10 CET 135km/58km to go
Quick Step has some
discussions with other riders in the break. For example Frederik Willems (Liquigas).
The Belgian team wants the break to stay away. They certainly have the numbers.
Five riders are now trying to bridge from the peloton, including Markus Eichler
(Team Milram) and Anthony Ravard (Agritubel).
15:12 CET 136km/57km to go
Devolder and Boonen
can be seen riding next to each other and talking about the next steps. It is
looking much better now for the men around Tommeke. The lead, going through
Tiegem, has gone up to 1'30" Dries Devenyns (Silence-Lotto) has dropped to the
team car to ask for a power gel. He puts it in his mouth and is off again!
15:18 CET 140km/53km to go
The front group includes
Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Gerben Löwik (Rabobank), Joost Posthuma (Rabobank),
Christophe Mengin (Française des Jeux), Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux),
Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Koen De Kort (Astana), Serge Pauwels
(Topsport Vlaanderen), Roy Sentjens (Silence-Lotto), Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas),
Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel), Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto), Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La
Mondiale), Roy Sentjens (Silence-Lotto), Frederik Willems (Liquigas), Joost
Posthuma (Rabobank), Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank),
Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van de Walle, Tom Boonen, Gert Steegmans and Stijn Devolder
(Quick Step), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen),
Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Jeremy Hunt
(Crédit Agricole), Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom), Grégory Habeaux (Mitsubishi-Jartazi),
David Kopp (Cycle Collstrop) and Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto)
Current race situation
- Group of about 25 riders, including Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van de Walle,
Tom Boonen, Gert Steegmans and Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), Manuel Quinziato
(Liquigas), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Matthew Goss (Team CSC),
Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Jeremy Hunt (Crédit Agricole), Aurélien
Clerc (Bouygues Telecom), Grégory Habeaux (Mitsubishi-Jartazi), David Kopp
(Cycle Collstrop) and Wim De Vocht (Silence-Lotto)
- Peloton at 2.09
It is Quick Step and also Liquigas
now that are doing the lion's share of the work on the front. It had an impact
as the lead has increased to 2'07"
15:25 CET 146km/47km to go
The wind is coming
from the right hand side now. So the echelon forms from right to left. Of course
those who can't make it into the echelon are screwed. especially when the pace
is high and subsequently the front group breaks now into three! Two riders being
caught are Thor Hushovd, who got third yesterday, and Leif Hoste!
The leaders hit the Nokerenberg. More
cobbles in the uphill! Hoste is just catching back onto the front group, together
with a few other riders.
15:32 CET 151km/42km to go
The five chasers,
including Martyn Maaskant (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) and Markus Eichler (Team
Milram), are now going up the Nokerenberg. They re trying to avoid the cobbles
by riding in the gutter. But there are some obstacles in the way and the two
almost crash. They are about a good minute behind. Martin Elmiger and Thorn
Hushovd are in-between, in no man's land. They were not able to rejoin the front,
like most of the others around Leif Hoste.
Hoste is riding at the back now. Liquigas
has also dropped back, to let Quick Step do the work again. Boonen himself drops
back all the way to try to convince the Italians to share some more of the work
load. It is still 40 kilometres to go. Boonen is unlikely to want to sprint
against Thor Hushovd, who seems to be in great form.
When the two groups merged earlier,
it gave Quick Step even better numbers. It is actually the whole team that is
in the front now. Seven riders. The only one missing is Paolo Bettini, who abandoned
after a crash.
Nonetheless the gap is coming down
again. It is now 45 seconds, but the group chasing behind is small. It includes
Steven Cozza, who was in the front group earlier today. We don't see any Skil-Shimano
riders. Sorry for those who asked.
15:43 CET 158km/35km to go
Karsten Kroon is dropping
back to the team car. The CSC rider is asking for advise. Still 35 km to go,
so it's time to figure out a tactic against the Quick Step team, which looks
like if they don't win they will be made fun off.
The lead has increased again. It is
now over the one-minute mark, despite the fact that the chasers are forming
an nice echelon and pulling through consistently. But on the front it continues
to be the entire Quick Step Team that is making the pace. The Liquigas riders
are sitting right behind.
15:56 CET 168km/25km to go
is riding very well. But the two in the chase (Frischkorn and Cozza) have their
work cut out. The gap is now 1'15" and it will be very hard for the chasers
to get back. We don't see any High Road riders. 26km to go and anything but
a victory from this front group would be astonishing.
It is still very windy today. The
jerseys are flapping in the wind. It is blowing from the right, so the group
is lined up from right to left. But Quick Step moves over to the left, to leave
the least amount of possibilities for drafting for the guys behind the seven
Quick Steppers. It may not drop them, but they will have to spend more energy
in the remaining 24 kilometres. And what will the strategy be? Will Boonen go
earlier? The best for them would be to keep it together and wait for a sprint.
But there will be some riders trying to do something different. The gap to the
chasers has increased to 1'34" The Astana riders, including Ivanov and De Kort,
are in the second group.
16:04 CET 171km/22km to go
The front group is
passing the start-finish line now for the first time. Two more laps to go after
that, or 22 kilometres. The gap is still more than 90 seconds. Hoste is scratching
his chin, as if he is thinking about his possible options. Frankly, it will
be hard for him. But at least he is able to grab an bottle from a team helper.
Current race situation
- Group of about 25 riders, including Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Steven De Jongh
(Quick Step), Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), Gert Steegmans (Quick Step), Matteo
Tosatto (Quick Step), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Maarten Wynants (Quick
Step), Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sebastian
Langeveld (Rabobank), Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Christophe
Mengin (Française des Jeux), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas),
Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel), Frédéric Amorison (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner)
- Chasers including Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle - H30), William Frischkorn
(Slipstream Chipotle - H30), Frédéric Amorison, (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner),
Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Roy Sentjens (Silence-Lotto), Gregory Rast
(Astana), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Steven Cozza (Slipstream Chipotle
- H30) at 1.54
16:09 CET 176km/17km to go
Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas)
hangs on to the team car for a second. They call this getting instructions,
but it is also a welcome break. But they can't do that for too long, otherwise
there will be a possible fine (either time or money or both) or even a disqualification.
16:11 CET 177km/16km to go
Crash in the front
group! It is Nicolas Jalabert who went down hard!
It looks like his front wheel got
caught on some rough part, dividing the bike path from the road. His front wheel
gets taken sideways and he can't stay upright. After being a bit shocked for
a few seconds, Jalabert is back up and riding. He checks his wrist and he looks
16:15 CET 178km/15km to go
Jalabert is back in
the front group. They didn't take advantage of the mishap. Jalabert's arm warmers
are rolled down to his wrist. Maybe it provides enough stability for an attack,
but even with an OK wrist it will be hard for anybody to beat Quick Step.
16:15 CET 180km/13km to go
Ouch, Jalabert's elbow
is pretty blood. He drops back to the doc's car
Steegmans is now on the front, which
means he won't act as joker. It is everybody for Boonen.
16:17 CET 181km/12km to go
Flecha doesn't like
it. He attacks! But everybody is attentive. Kroon steps up to the front
16:18 CET 182km/11km to go
Now it is Willems
of Liquigas who takes over. One more lap or 11km. Van Der Walle is dropped,
He has done enough for the team.
16:19 CET 183km/10km to go
Liquigas has still
Franzoi and Quinzato, besides Willems. But it is Quick Step at the front again.
However, Kroon and Willems try again to string it out.
There is a small gap, five riders
on the front. Langeveld and Willems are in there, but it's not enough of a gap.
Next attack by Langeveld, but the
Belgian Champion Devolder catches him.
16:21 CET 186km/7km to go
The second group comes
through the start finish with almost three minutes of a gap.
tried, but Quick Step has the luxury of five riders being able to assist Tom
16:23 CET 187km/6km to go
Langeveld again. But
to no avail. Willems indicates to the others to keep rotating. Boonen can be
seen gesturing from the back as well. He wants a steady pace and his team to
pull through nicely.
Attack by Hoste!!!
16:24 CET 187km/6km to go
Devolder and Steegmans
chase Hoste, who sat at the back for a long time today, but now put in a strong
effort at the left hand side of the road.
Hoste has around 100m. Steegmans is
trying to bring him back. Devolder has dropped back to the group.
Devolder is leading the group, but
now there is counter from a Rabobank rider. Either Langeveld or Flecha. Steegmans
has caught Hoste. Maybe it will not be Boonen's day. It is Langeveld.
16:27 CET 189km/4km to go
But Langeveld is caught
and two more riders counter. Willems and Amorison
Well, there was too much playing around
involved, and it is all back together. But not for long. Langeveld again. He
must have some Duracell batteries in his bike. Looks like De Jongh has caught
Australian Goss also is taking off,
with Steegmans on his wheel. Every rider gets a personal Quick Step attendant.
Only De Jongh and Langeveld now. Hoste
is trying again to bridge up. He is in-between the two leaders and the group.
16:31 CET 191km/2km to go
Quick Step doesn't
know what to do. Should they rely on De Jongh? No, with Hoste coming up they
pick up the pace again.
16:32 CET 192km/1km to go
Well, Hoste didn't
make it. It is too windy for a solo effort. Quick Step shuts down the race behind the front duo.
Langeveld is stuck - he has to work all by himself
now and drag De Jongh with him. They are approaching the line.
Willems is trying to bring the group
But it is too late - the duo at the
front start the sprint!
Well, that was easy for De Jongh,
after sitting on for several kilometres, He easily gets pout of Langeveld's
slipstream and sprints past the Dutchman, winning the race!
Tasmanian Matthew Goss finished third.
He was feeling good, saying that "it was a long day." He was in the attack earlier,
then managed to be there in the end. "I am not sure if I could have won against
Boonen, but maybe one day I can win [ a race like this]."
good result for Quick Step and the Australians we say good-bye from today's
live coverage in Kuurne. We'll try to warm up now. Thanks for tuning. Until
the next time.
1 Steven De Jongh (Bel) (Quick Step)
2 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank
3 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team CSC
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
5 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas
6 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) P3Transfer - Batavus
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop