Race Report
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) has won in three...

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Groenewegen continues winning form in Belgium

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to his fourth victory of the season on Sunday at the semi-classic Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in Belgium.

He’s won in Dubai, in Portugal, and now LottoNL Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen has won in Belgium. The Dutchman sprinted to victory over Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday, as the sprinters only swept up the breakaway in the last few hundred meters. The semi-classic is Groenewegen’s fourth win already in 2018. While some sprinters have yet to score a victory this season, Groenewegen is firing on all cylinders.

“I may have won this sprint very easily, but the two hundred kilometers before that were anything but easy,” Groenewegen said. “It was cold, very windy and at times the pace was very high. After the Oude Kwaremont, the peloton broke into several groups and I ended up in the third group. But the team brought me back to the front perfectly…

“This is a very good victory and one for the entire team. When I started my sprint, I knew it was early, but I also knew I could finish it off. The fact that I have won here proves that I can handle the heavier classic work. This is a nice confirmation.”

Top 10

  • 1. Dylan Groenewegen, (NED) TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, in 04:51:41
  • 2. Arnaud Demare, (FRA) FDJ, at 0:00:00
  • 3. Sonny Colbrelli, (ITA) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:00:00
  • 4. Pim Ligthart, (NED) ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 0:00:00
  • 5. Justin Jules, (FRA) WB AQUA PROTECT VERANCLASSIC, at 0:00:00
  • 6. Jean-Pierre Drucker, (LUX) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 7. Guillaume Boivin, (CAN) ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, at 0:00:00
  • 8. Lukasz Wisniowski, (POL) TEAM SKY, at 0:00:00
  • 9. Julien Vermote, (BEL) TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at 0:00:00
  • 10. Timothy Dupont, (BEL) WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:00:00

The second race in Belgium’s opening weekend, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, is a semi-classic for the sprinters. The race is a bit easier than Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which occurs the day before, though the race is still 200 kilometers long. However, the last cobbled climb on the course comes some 50 kilometers from the finish. The past two editions prior to 2018 had seen breakaways survive, giving attackers hope that the race wouldn’t simply end in a bunch gallop every year.

The start of the race was brutally cold with temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark. The race organizers posted pictures on social media of workers removing ice from some of the cobbled climbs.

A seven-rider breakaway escaped in the early kilometers, but it was immediately apparent the early morning attackers would have no shot at surviving. The peloton was keeping them on a short leash and never let the gap go too far over the two-minute mark.

A crash with 90 kilometers to go saw Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) hit the deck hard, along with a few other riders. The peloton split in two because of the crash. This was significant because the famous Oude Kwaremont was coming up and the peloton was riding hard. There would be no waiting after the crash, as the race was on.

Over the Oude Kwaremont, the peloton shattered into many groups. Once back onto the pavement, the groups began to come together and soon a breakaway of 21 riders formed at the front. Behind, LottoNL-Jumbo charged at the front of the peloton to bring the group back. Groenewegen had missed the move and less than 80 kilometers remained in the race at this point.

The lead group was full of heavy hitters with the likes of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Demare, Colbrelli, Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) all present.

While the pace was fully on, notably Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) was seen coming to a standstill. The rider had simply exploded and had no energy left. A possible reason for this was that his last race was in the brutal heat in Colombia and now he was having to deal with freezing temperatures in Belgium. The extreme temperature change between races may have been a shock to his system.

LottoNL-Jumbo did its best to keep the gap to the lead group at under a minute, but they didn’t have the firepower to reel them in. The chase had lasted over 20 kilometers by this point and through many of the tough cobbled climbs.

Finally, Astana came to the fore with four riders and that proved to be the difference. They powered on the front of the peloton and brought back the majority of the escape with about 40 kilometers remaining. Some of the smaller teams that had missed the move assisted in the chasing as well.

Stuyven and Oss were still out front with a 20-second advantage over the peloton. The leading duo had attacked out of the lead group, sensing the peloton was going to bring them back.

Heading into Kuurne for two local circuits of about 15 kilometers and the finish line, Oss punctured out of the lead. This left Stuyven alone in the lead with still over 30 kilometers remaining.

A few different crashes occurred on the circuit and saw sprinter Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) go down hard. In a separate crash, the Astana duo of Alexey Lutsenko and Magnus Cort Nielsen also hit the deck. Nielsen and Modolo abandoned the race after their respective crashes.

Stuyven was brought back into the fold with 19 kilometers remaining and then the counterattacks came quickly. It was nonstop attacking until a trio of riders gained a solid gap over the peloton with less than 10 kilometers to go. Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Julien Duval (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Loïc Vliegen (BMC Racing) worked well together and heading into the final kilometer it appeared they may hold off the peloton and spoil the party for the sprinters.

The leaders entered the final few hundred meters with the sprinters launching toward the line right behind them. They would be passed inside of the last 200 meters, as Groenewegen proved to have the fastest finishing speed and took the victory. The leaders were so close to holding off the peloton that Vermote still finished ninth on the day.

Interestingly, the two riders that joined Groenewegen on the podium, Demare, and Colbrelli, had been part of the threatening 21-rider breakaway that had dominated the middle part of the race.

Full Results

  • 1. Dylan Groenewegen, (NED) TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, in 04:51:41
  • 2. Arnaud Demare, (FRA) FDJ, at 0:00:00
  • 3. Sonny Colbrelli, (ITA) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:00:00
  • 4. Pim Ligthart, (NED) ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 0:00:00
  • 5. Justin Jules, (FRA) WB AQUA PROTECT VERANCLASSIC, at 0:00:00
  • 6. Jean-Pierre Drucker, (LUX) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 7. Guillaume Boivin, (CAN) ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, at 0:00:00
  • 8. Lukasz Wisniowski, (POL) TEAM SKY, at 0:00:00
  • 9. Julien Vermote, (BEL) TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at 0:00:00
  • 10. Timothy Dupont, (BEL) WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:00:00
  • 11. Oliver Naesen, (BEL) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 12. Yves Lampaert, (BEL) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 0:00:00
  • 13. Nils Politt, (GER) TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 0:00:00
  • 14. Tom Van Asbroeck, (BEL) TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 0:00:00
  • 15. Jens Debusschere, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:00:00
  • 16. Matteo Trentin, (ITA) MITCHELTON – SCOTT, at 0:00:00
  • 17. Viacheslav Kuznetsov, (RUS) TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 0:00:00
  • 18. Bert Van Lerberghe, (BEL) COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 0:00:00
  • 19. Zakkari Dempster, (AUS) ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, at 0:00:00
  • 20. Michael Goolaerts, (BEL) VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 0:00:00
  • 21. Kenny Dehaes, (BEL) WB AQUA PROTECT VERANCLASSIC, at 0:00:00
  • 22. Giacomo Nizzolo, (ITA) TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:00:00
  • 23. Thomas Boudat, (FRA) DIRECT ENERGIE, at 0:00:00
  • 24. Aleksejs Saramotins, (LAT) BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:00:00
  • 25. Iljo Keisse, (BEL) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 0:00:00
  • 26. Gediminas Bagdonas, (LTU) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 27. Andreas Schillinger, (GER) BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:00:00
  • 28. Marco Marcato, (ITA) UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:00:00
  • 29. Loïc Vliegen, (BEL) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 30. Jenthe Biermans, (BEL) TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 0:00:00
  • 31. Kristijan Koren, (SLO) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:00:00
  • 32. Tom Bohli, (SUI) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 33. Mathew Hayman, (AUS) MITCHELTON – SCOTT, at 0:00:00
  • 34. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, (BEL) WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:00:00
  • 35. Tiesj Benoot, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:00:00
  • 36. Yoann Offredo, (FRA) WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:00:00
  • 37. Quentin Jauregui, (FRA) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 38. Jasper Stuyven, (BEL) TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:00:00
  • 39. Nico Denz, (GER) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 40. Matti Breschel, (DEN) TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 0:00:00
  • 41. Julien Mortier, (BEL) WB AQUA PROTECT VERANCLASSIC, at 0:00:00
  • 42. Ryan Mullen, (IRL) TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:00:00
  • 43. Tosh Van Der Sande, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:00:00
  • 44. Luka Pibernik, (SLO) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:00:00
  • 45. Jasper De Buyst, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:00:00
  • 46. Romain Cardis, (FRA) DIRECT ENERGIE, at 0:00:00
  • 47. Julien Duval, (FRA) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 48. Mathias De Witte, (BEL) VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 0:00:00
  • 49. Marc Sarreau, (FRA) FDJ, at 0:00:00
  • 50. Christopher Juul Jensen, (DEN) MITCHELTON – SCOTT, at 0:00:00
  • 51. Reto Hollenstein, (SUI) TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 0:00:00
  • 52. August Jensen, (NOR) ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, at 0:00:00
  • 53. Stijn Vandenbergh, (BEL) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00:00
  • 54. Niki Terpstra, (NED) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 0:00:00
  • 55. Francisco Jose Ventoso Alberdi, (ESP) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 56. Greg Van Avermaet, (BEL) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:00
  • 57. Nikolas Maes, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:00:00
  • 58. Luke Durbridge, (AUS) MITCHELTON – SCOTT, at 0:00:00
  • 59. Maarten Wynants, (BEL) TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 0:00:00
  • 60. Dimitri Claeys, (BEL) COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 0:00:00
  • 61. Sep Vanmarcke, (BEL) TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 0:00:00
  • 62. Jacopo Guarnieri, (ITA) FDJ, at 0:00:17
  • 63. Huub Duijn, (NED) VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 0:00:17
  • 64. Nathan Van Hooydonck, (BEL) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:17
  • 65. Pieter Weening, (NED) ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 0:00:17
  • 66. Michal Golas, (POL) TEAM SKY, at 0:00:17
  • 67. Alberto Bettiol, (ITA) BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00:17
  • 68. Dries Devenyns, (BEL) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 0:00:31
  • 69. Ramon Sinkeldam, (NED) FDJ, at 0:00:33
  • 70. Dylan Van Baarle, (NED) TEAM SKY, at 0:00:50
  • 71. Jens Keukeleire, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:01:20
  • 72. Mitchell Docker, (AUS) TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 0:01:20
  • 73. Adrien Petit, (FRA) DIRECT ENERGIE, at 0:01:21
  • 74. Dmitriy Gruzdev, (KAZ) ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:03:52
  • 75. Oliviero Troia, (ITA) UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:03:52
  • 76. Grega Bole, (SLO) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:03:52
  • 77. Heinrich Haussler, (AUS) BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 0:03:52
  • 78. Tim Declercq, (BEL) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 0:03:52
  • 79. Stijn Devolder, (BEL) VERANDA’S WILLEMS – CRELAN, at 0:03:52
  • 80. Oscar Gatto, (ITA) ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:03:52
  • 81. Mads Pedersen, (DEN) TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:03:52
  • 82. Jelle Wallays, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:03:52
  • 83. Maxime Vantomme, (BEL) WB AQUA PROTECT VERANCLASSIC, at 0:03:52
  • 84. Silvan Dillier, (SUI) AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:03:52
  • 85. Christophe Noppe, (BEL) SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 0:03:52
  • 86. Sebastian Langeveld, (NED) TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 0:03:52
  • 87. Alexey Lutsenko, (KAZ) ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:03:52
  • 88. Hugo Hofstetter, (FRA) COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 0:03:52
  • 89. Michael Valgren Andersen, (DEN) ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:03:52
  • 90. Truls KorsÆth, (NOR) ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:03:52
  • 91. Coen Vermeltfoort, (NED) ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, at 0:03:52