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Stuyven is our new Belgian hero!

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In a crazy turn of events Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne managed to become the more entertaining race in Flanders this weekend. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) took his greatest win to date with a strong 15 kilometer solo attack that a furiously chasing peloton was unable to match. Kristoff took the sprint for second ahead of Nacer Bouhanni.

ERIC LALMAND/AFP/Getty Images

It was a cold day in Flanders with strong winds that were to have a strong impact on the racing. A group of eleven hopefuls got in the early break but were gradually quite casually closed down by the peloton as the race hit the final few climbs. Over the Kwaremont Peter Sagan showed the first signs of aggression putting on pressure that had some in trouble at the back. Race favorite Kristoff had to burn matches to work his way back to the front for one. But it would not be until the end of the helling-sector that the race really began to break apart under the pressure of Lotto and IAM on the Varent and Tiegemberg.

After the final climb, the Nokereberg, an elite group with names like Van Avermaet, Boonen, Vermote, Stuyven and Rowe among others, broke off as crosswinds hit the peloton. Katusha and Lotto were forced on the defensive to try and contain the group that held a lead of about 40 seconds. At 17 kms to go the advantage was looking to swing in the favor of the peloton and Stuyven decided to take matters in his own hand and accelerated away from an increasingly dysfunctional breakaway group. His strong solo TTing on the final circuits saw him hold and even extend his lead over a clearly tiring chase that was ultimately swallowed up by a small chasing peloton in the final kilometers. Even a chasing peloton couldn't do much about a Stuyven on the ride of his life and the twenty-three year old talent could make good on his promise and deliver a popular second home win for the Belgians in the opening weekend.  Seconds later Alexander Kristoff crushed the field in the kind of sprint we expected him to win the race with but once again it would only be good for second place in front of equally impressive Nacer Bouhanni and Dylan Groenewgen, the latest in the row of aspiring Dutch supersprinters.

The only cloud on the skies over Kuurne in the end was yet another motorelated accident as the race doctor (oops) managed to mow down an unsuspecting Stig Broeckx. Hopefully the last of these kinds of scenes we see this year.

TOP 10 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

  1. Jasper Stuyven 4.53.50
  2. Alexander Kristoff +17 sec
  3. Nacer Bouhanni s.t.
  4. Dylan Groenewegen s.t.
  5. Lukas Wisniowski s.t.
  6. Niccolo Bonifazio s.t.
  7. Peter Sagan s.t.
  8. Edward Theuns s.t.
  9. Jonas Van Genechten s.t
  10. Scott Thwaites s.t.