Classic edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne comes down to sprint finaleSun 25 Feb 2018
For the first time in three years the second race of the Belgian opening weekend Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne finished in a bunch sprint with multiple Grand Tour stage winner Matteo Trentin in 16th for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
It all came down to the final 150metres before a dramatically reduced peloton caught a trio of riders to bring about a ligthening quick conclusion to the 200kilometre race.
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) sealed the victory with Trentin coming from slightly behind to place 16th with Mathew Hayman, Chris Juul Jensen and Luke Durbridge also in the front group.
After the early attacks formed the breakaway of seven riders the peloton sat up and the tensions subsided until the race hit the Kruisberg climb and the pace ramped up again.
The group never got far, but they were caught after attacks on the iconic Oude Kwaremont with around 80kilometres remaining as Van Avermaet who missed the initial move, cahsed on and drove the pace forward again.
Durbridge and Trentin made the split and the front group now swelled to contain around 20riders with a gap of 50seconds on the closest chasers.
The peloton clawed back some ground on the group and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) sensing a regrouping jumped off the front and gained a swift advantage.
The duo held 40seconds into the finishing circuits as the bunch made contact with the group of Durbridge and Trentin, that was until Oss suffered an untimely mechanical leaving Stuyven solo with 30kilometres to go.
Attack Filled Final Circuit:
Stuyven was caught with 16kilometres to go, but there was no respite, as fresh attacks sprang immediately and continued throughout the final circuit.
A trio of riders held a slight advantage into the final kilometre before the heavily reduced bunch swept past them with 150metres remaining and Groenewegen taking the victory.
Matteo Trentin - 16th:
“We got boxed in a little there in the end and I was sprinting from quite a bit further back and to be in with a chance I needed to be up towards the front, but the tiredness was starting to creep in and my positioning was not the best."
“It was a hard race and when it split on the Kwaremont it was quite strange, because the group didn’t seem to want to work 100%, even though it was a strong group of riders.
“For the classics squad this is the first time that we have raced together, and I think that we have a really good base to build on going into the next races and the spring."
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage:
“At one point when we made it into the right side of the split I thought there was a good chance that the group could stay away, but Astana worked hard to bring it back and there were maybe too many riders up ahead to work together cohesively.”
“It’s been a solid weekend form the guys and while it is a shame that our main guys are not quite in peak condition we can see that their relationship with each other is already good and the signs are very positive for the next races as we go into the Spring.
“Our neo-pro Lucas Hamilton handled himself every well for the first time racing these races and he showed that he is already a skilful rider with a lot of potential.”
1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 04:51:41
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) ST
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) ST
16. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.