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62nd Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - 1.1

Belgium, March 1, 2009

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Boonen exacts his revenge

By Bjorn Haake in Kuurne, with additional reporting by Susan Westemeyer

Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
Photo ©: AFP
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Tom Boonen got revenge for a botched Omloop Het Nieuwsblad by taking a commanding win in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne ahead of Bernhard Eisel (Columbia-Highroad) and Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam). The Quick Step team placed three riders in the lead group of 13, enabling them to mark late attacks by the Rabobank team and deliver Boonen to the sprint victory.

The loser of the day was Team Silence-Lotto which failed to make the decisive break. The Dutch team Rabobank once again was well represented at the front, putting three riders in the group but was once again shut out in the finale. Nick Nuyens, Juan Antonio Flecha and Tom Leezer all launched unsuccessful attacks in the final kilometres, with Flecha's move with 3km to go the most promising, but Quick Step sacrificed Sylvain Chavanel to bring the Spaniard back.

Nuyens tried to counter the move, but was closely marked by Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam), setting up the sprint between the ten remaining riders, which Boonen won easily.

The Belgian knew that the team made the difference today. "We tried to make the course hard with Chavanel and Maarten [Wynants]. Rabobank could always jump with Flecha and Leezer." Boonen added that the flat finish dictated the tactics. "Chavanel and Wynants could go on the attack if there was a small group going. They brought Flecha back in the end."

Boonen said his form was OK, "good enough to win Kuurne." The day before he also felt fine, but was impacted by the crash in the final metres which kept him from contesting the victory. "That was really a missed chance." He was already looking forward to Milano-Sanremo. "The Via Roma is a bit more important..."

Boonen had no comment on what Silence-Lotto was up to. "I don't know, I only look at our team."

Eisel was outnumbered in the group, but was there when it counted. He seemed excited to take second to Boonen, and made a small salute after congratulating the Belgian. "Fortunately I had enough power left in the end." He benefitted from being the only rider from Team Columbia-Highroad in the lead group. "I could say I am taking less pulls." However, in the attack-filled finale, Eisel had to cover all the moves. "I just couldn't tell a teammate, 'hey, it is your turn now...'"

Cervélo loses contact with each other

The podium in Kuurne:
Photo ©: ISPA
(Click for larger image)

The Cervélo TestTeam followed up on its successful Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with another podium performance by Hunt. The team once again had Heinrich Haussler in the leading bunch, but after his long efforts the day before the German was dropped when things began heating up in the last few kilometres. "I turned around and he was gone. He wasn't even on the radio anymore," Hunt said. "I figured he missed a wheel."

But if the German could have beaten Boonen? Even Haussler acknowledged he didn't know. "I won't make such a claim." He was angrier with himself for making a big blunder. "It was a bad situation. I wanted to stay with Boonen, Jeremy was up front." But then several riders attacked. "I didn't react quickly enough," Haussler said. "You have to get right on the wheel." Once he hesitated he had to play along. "I also didn't want to ride after my teammate."

Haussler said his form and the legs were good, though. "I made a mistake that I can learn from. Fortunately it happened here and not in Flanders."

Haussler and Hunt were seen at the front of the group as they went though the start-finish line. At that point they talked face to face, rather than relying on the radio. "We were just trying to figure out who would cover what moves," Haussler said. He added that it was difficult with three Rabobank and three Quick Step riders. "Plus a lot of other riders who want to win. It's a very tactical game, but Jeremy got third and that is really good."

Good speed but early finish line for Kroon

The beginning of the breakaway
Photo ©: ISPA
(Click for larger image)

Karsten Kroon of Saxo Bank was one of the most dangerous riders in the break, and launched a strong move with five kilometres to go. "You have to try some thing, there were a lot of fast guys like Boonen, Haussler and Eisel," he told Cyclingnews. "You don't have a chance against guys like that in the sprint."

Once Kroon was caught again, Flecha went and Kroon knew it was going to be a sprint. "Flecha was going too slowly and I knew they would catch him." The tactics for Kroon in the sprint were simple. "I tried to surprise them with momentum. With nobody pulling I thought the sprint would start early and maybe the sprinters would slow down." He then planned to pass the early birds, but the plan didn't quite work out. "I had the momentum, but the finish line came too early," he said with a grin.

The first break of 11 riders formed at kilometre 98, but as expected, it was the Oude Kwaremont some ten kilometres later that broke things open. Another group of six went clear, with more riders coming across from a large chase group to solidify the winning move. Once Boonen made it across, the Quick Step team drove the pace. The group contained 29 riders, without anybody from Silence-Lotto.

At km 141, an attack went clear with Chavanel, Wynants, Eisel, Kroon, Haussler and Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel). This move was later joined by Nuyens, Mathieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux), Boonen, Flecha, Leezer, Meersman and Hunt. This was the winning move of 13 that reached the final two laps of ten kilometres with a good gap over the chase group that contained Gert Steegmans (Katusha).

After the unsuccessful attacks of Kroon, Flecha and Nuyens, it came down to the sprint where Boonen proved he is right on target for the bigger Classics coming up.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Bjorn Haake/Cyclingnews.com

Images by ISPA/www.ctm-images.com

Images by Florian and Susanne Schaaf/www.cyclingpictures.de

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


1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                     4.20.48 (44.402 km/h)
2 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia-High Road           
3 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team                    
4 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank                     
5 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank                              
6 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel                      
7 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux             
8 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank                         0.04
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step                  0.12
10 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank                0.15
11 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Française des Jeux          1.03
12 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team             
13 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step                      
14 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom            4.17
15 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Agritubel                        
16 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                        
17 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank                   
18 Hub Duijn (Ned) Garmin-Slipstream                     
19 Stijn Hoornaert (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop               
20 Baden Cooke (Aus) Vacansoleil                         
21 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team                 
22 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux               
23 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step                       
24 Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Katusha                           
25 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia-High Road            
26 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram                       
27 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank                    
28 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Katusha                          
29 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil                    
30 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale             8.18
31 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel                         
32 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                
33 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago       
34 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen        
35 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                   
36 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas Willems            
37 Yaonn Offredo (Fra) Française des Jeux                
38 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana                            
39 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale                  
40 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale                    
41 Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano                       
42 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram                       
43 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Team Columbia-High Road          
44 Jos van Emden (Ned) Rabobank                          
45 Gert Dockx (Bel) Team Columbia-High Road              
46 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha                       
47 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia-High Road    
48 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha                           
49 Leonardo Duque (Fra) Cofidis                          
50 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha                       
51 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Rabobank                        
52 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo Test Team              
53 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil                         
54 Sebastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale              
55 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step                      
56 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step                       
57 Frederic Amorison: (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago      
58 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Slipstream              
59 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank                             
60 Sebastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux           
61 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence-Lotto                  
62 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank                      
63 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Team Saxo Bank                   
64 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank                        
65 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) AN Post Team Sean Kelly       8.50
66 Stephen Gallagher (Irl) AN Post Team Sean Kelly       
67 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) AN Post Team Sean Kelly      
68 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) CC Bourgas                    
69 Paidi O’Brien (Irl) AN Post Team Sean Kelly           
70 Jef Peeters (Bel) AN Post Team Sean Kelly             
71 Koen Barbé (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago              
72 David Boucher (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago           
73 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago        
74 Serhiy Matveyev (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team                
75 Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Revor-Jartazi                   
76 Kenny Van Braekel (Bel) Revor-Jartazi                 
77 Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop               
78 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha                         
79 Tom Vanbecelaere (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop              
80 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                
81 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Silence-Lotto                   
82 Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano                   
83 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) CC Bourgas                     
84 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence-Lotto                    
85 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis                   
86 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen               
87 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                        
88 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Verandas Willems             
89 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis                            
90 Erki Pütsep (Est) CC Bourgas                          
91 Ian Stannard (GBr) ISD Cycling Team                   
92 Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) Astana                           
93 Klaas Lodewyck     (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen          
94 Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen              
95 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team              
96 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom            
97 Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team                 
98 Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team                 
99 Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervelo Test Team                 
100 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française des Jeux               
101 Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream             
102 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Slipstream                 
103 Stephane Poulhies (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale             
104 Geert Omloop (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop                 
105 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Vacansoleil                       
106 Cédric Pineau (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale                 
107 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Cofidis                         
108 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                  
109 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) ISD Cycling Team              
110 David Deroo (Fra) Skil-Shimano                       
111 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Agritubel                   
112 Matt Brammeier (Irl) AN Post Team Sean Kelly         
113 Rémi Cusin (Fra) Agritubel                           
114 Lars Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank                        
115 Sébastien Portal (Fra) Cofidis                       
116 Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis                     
117 Arnaud van Groen (Ned) Vacansoleil                   
118 Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil                         
119 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil-Shimano                    
120 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Silence-Lotto                    
121 Reinier Honig (Ned) Vacansoleil                      
122 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil-Shimano