Race Information & History
Race Type: Less hilly classic with cobbles
The first Kuurne Brussels Kuurne was in 1946 and until the late 60s, followed a route to Brussels. It was known as Omloop der beide Vlaanderen in the 1970s to reflect the new route to the Flemish Ardennes. In 1979 it reverted back to its original name.
The second race of the opening weekend of the European season, Kuurne Brussels Kuurne is considered a smaller race than Omloop het Nieuwsblad and in modern times is often won by a sprinter.
Kuurne Brussels Kuurne includes a few of the Tour of Flanders climbs – Kanarieberg, Kruisberg and the Oude Kwaremont but it’s closer to E3 Harelbeke routewise. A series of climbs near the finish aren’t tough enough to break up the race and the peloton usually crests the Tiegemberg, Holstraat and the Nokereberg together.
Despite being known as the Sprinter’s Classic (along with Scheldeprijs), in recent years only 2018 saw a big bunch finish. 2016 winner Jasper Stuyven won solo, Sagan win from a group of 5 in 2017 and 2019’s success saw Bob Jungels have a gap of 12 seconds at the end.
With the Nokereberg 50km before a flat section to the finish, it’s tough for small groups to stay away against the might of the sprinters’ teams but entertaining for us when they succeed and pull off a victory.
The weather was atrocious, with heavy rain and strong winds from cyclone Xynthia. The peloton split early on with 50+ riders quitting at the feed zone after falling behind. Vacansoleil’s Bobbie Traksel attacked and gained
a minute over the peloton.
Ian Stannard attacked on the Oude Kwaremont and a front group of 3 formed – Traksel, Stannard and Rick Flens. They stayed away until the finish. A fallen tree shortened the race by 20km and with 10km to go, Flens attacked.
Stannard closed the gap and attacked himself. Traksel closed in and all 3 contested the sprint. Traksel attacked in the last 1km to take the biggest win of his career. Only 26 riders finished.
The Kruisberg and Hotondberg. This pair of climbs lead directly from one into the other. The Kruisberg is 1.6km long at an average of 4.9%.The Hotondberg is 1km long at an average of 3.9%.
Not the hardest climbs in the world, placed together it perfectly allows riders to attack on the Kruisberg, get closed down and then a second attack or counter takes place on the Hotondberg in an effort to reduce the peloton.