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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

57th Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne - 1.2

Belgium, February 29, 2004

2003 Results     Past winners    

A cold and snowy KBK

By Jeff Jones

Roy Sentjens
Photo: © AFP
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Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is the traditional followup race to Omloop Het Volk, which marks the opening of the Belgian calendar. Shorter and featuring less climbs than Het Volk, the 57th K-B-K is seen as more of a sprinter's race, although there is still enough in it to cause breaks. And with the cold and snowy weather in Belgium looking set to continue until early next week, this will certainly play a role in the outcome of the race.

This year's 188 km parcours contains eight climbs, skipping the Kluisberg this year and going via the Oude Kwaremont (km 110), Cote de Trieu (km 125), Tiegemberg (km 134) and Nokereberg (km 144), the final climb in the race. If the current weather conditions prevail, then the riders will have a head/crosswind for the next 20 km back to the finishing circuits in Kuurne.

The field is typically similar to Het Volk, although don't expect to see Saturday's winner in contention on Sunday. Last year on a miserable day, young Dutchman Roy Sentjens (Rabobank) took a fine opportunistic win after attacking a five man breakaway with 2 km to go. Only 26 riders finished the race, with most of the peloton being pulled out for being too far behind.

Early (and late) leaders in 2003
Photo: © Daniel Schamps
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Oddly for a defending champion, Sentjens will wear number 45 in this year's edition of the race, with the number one dossard being reserved for Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon). Museeuw will have with him Tom Boonen, Stefano Zanini and Aurélien Clerc, and if they finish out of the money on Saturday they will surely be in for some action in K-B-K. The same goes for Belgium's number two team Lotto-Domo, which is hunting for victories to try and guarantee Tour selection.

U.S. Postal looks to be stronger this year with George Hincapie, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Max van Heeswijk and Stijn Devolder, and they certainly want to impress Belgian sponsors Berry Floor with a good outing in this classic. Rabobank, which has scored the most number of UCI points so far this season, boasts Oscar Freire in its ranks (as well as Sentjens), but one of their lesser known riders could certainly shine again.

What happens with Frank Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) will probably depend on the outcome of Het Volk. VDB is still riding himself into form at the moment, and he expects to peak a little later on this season. Cofidis will feature Stuart O'Grady, who notched up a few second and third places in Portugal recently, Jimmy Casper, who was part of the main break last year, and Belgian Peter Farazijn, who also looks to be in form at the moment.

In Credit Agricole, Thor Hushovd is probably the man to watch after his lucky win in Classic Haribo last weekend. Well, he kept the bike upright and that's what counts! Speaking of sprinters, Jaan Kirsipuu (winner in 2002) is definitely a man for this race. Normally used to winning bunch kicks, Kirsipuu took out the 2002 edition with a gut busting solo move, a testament to the strength of this Estonian rider.

2003 saw a controlled peloton
Photo: © Sirotti
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FDJeux.com's Baden Cooke will be looking for some revenge after being taken down in the Classic Haribo crash. If he misses the front group, then Austrian Bernhard Eisel or Australian champ Matthew Wilson may be able to take their chances. MrBookmaker boasts Belgian champion Geert Omloop as well as Jo Planckaert, winner of K-B-K in 1999.

Team CSC will be relying on classics man Frank Høj's to take the reins, while Chocolade Jacques will hope for Jans Koerts to pull off something special. Fabio Baldato (Alessio-Bianchi) is certainly a candidate for victory in this race, as well as Angelo Furlan who is always up there in the sprints.

Nico Mattan will be guiding his younger Bodysol-Brustor teammates during the race, and Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has riders like Ludovic Capelle and Yuri Metlushenko to rely on.

Past winners

2003  Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank         190 kms in 4.48.00 (39.55 km/h)
2002  Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 188 kms in 4.31.00
2001  Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Mercury     188 kms in 4.20.00
2000  Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco    197 kms in 4.47.06
1999  Jo Planckaert (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar  188 kms in 4.38.45
1998  Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar  197 kms in 4.56.00
1997  Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1996  Rolf Sörensen (Den)
1995  Frédéric Moncassin (FRA)
1994  Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1992  Olaf Ludwig (Ger)
1991  Johnny Dauwe (Bel)
1990  Hendrik Redant (Bel)
1989  Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel)
1988  Hendrik Redant (Bel)
1987  Ludo Peeters (Bel)
1985  William Tackaert (Bel)
1984  Joseph Lammertink (Ned)
1983  Jan Raas (Ned)
1982  Gregor Braun (Ger)
1981  Joseph Jacobs (Bel)
1980  Jan Raas (Ned)
1979  Walter Planckaert (Bel)
1978  Patrick Lefevere (Bel)
1977  Patrick Sercu (Bel)
1976  Frans Verhaegen (Bel)
1975  Frans Verhaegen (Bel)
1974  Wilfried Wesemael (Bel)
1973  Walter Planckaert (Bel)
1972  Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck (Bel)
1971  Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)
1970  Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)
1969  Freddy Decloedt (Bel)
1968  Eric Leman (Bel)
1967  Daniel Van Rijckeghem (Bel)
1966  Gustave Desmet (Bel)
1965  Guido Reybrouck (Bel)
1964  Arthur De Cabooter (Bel)
1963  Noél Fore (Bel)
1962  Piet Rentmeester (Ned)
1961  Alfred De Bruyne (Bel) - Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1960  Joseph Planckaert (Bel)
1959  Gentiel Saelens (Bel)
1958  Gilbert Desmet (Bel)
1957  Joseph Verhelts (Bel)
1956  Henri Denijs (Bel)
1955  Joseph Planckaert (Bel)
1954  Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1953  Leopold De Graeveleyn (Bel)
1952  André Maelbrancke (Bel)
1951  André Declerck (Bel)
1950  Valére Ollivier (Bel)
1949  Albert Decin (Bel)
1948  Achiel Buysse (Bel)
1947  André Pieters (Bel)
1946  Henri Delmuyle (Bel

Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com