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By VeloNews Interactive, with wire services
Discovery Channel’s George Hincapie won the 58th edition of the Belgian semi-classic Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday, as the American outsprinted his breakaway partner Kevin Van Impe (Chocolade Jacques).
The two men slipped off the front of an elite group of riders nearing the end of the 190-kilometer race through the Belgian countryside.
The two leaders finished 14 seconds of a hard-chasing Bert Roesems (Davitamon-Lotto).
The race, held in cold and cloudy conditions, threw riders into tough conditions including a brutally icy headwind at points.
The day was a battle of attrition with the final selection emerging from a small group of elite riders including many of the day’s pre-race favorites.
The closing kilometers were highlighted by a series of attacks from several in the group. With barely more than five kilometers remaining Hincapie and Van Impe moved off the front with only Roesems giving chase.
Hincapie became the first American to win the early season 190 kilometer Classic, the second such victory of his career. In 2001, Hincapie was the first American to win Gent-Wevelgem.
“It was a super hard race in nasty, cold and windy conditions,” Hincapie said. “It was a battle all day. At the end, every was so completely dead from the wind and all the attacks that there was no control at the front.” “For sure, George likes to race in this area, even in the cold conditions,” said Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team assistant sports manager Dirk Demol. “Wevelgem is only around 10 kilometers from here and de Panne (Hincapie won last year’s Three Days of the Panne stage race) is another 50 or so kilometers, so this seems to be one of his favorite areas.”
Hincapie and Belgian Kevin Van Impe slipped away from the leaders in the last six kms and managed to stay clear. Hincapie sat on Van Impe’s wheel in the finishing straight and his powerful sprint gave him the victory by one second. A chasing Bert Roesems came through in third place, at 14 seconds.
“We were trying to make the race hard,” said Demol. “Like yesterday (at Het Volk), although the final result wasn’t great, the performance of the team was strong. Today, we seemed to always have someone in a good position, which helped for the final. I ordered the boys to try and spread the peloton and it worked well, putting us in a good situation at the end.”
Towards the finish, Demol said he told Hincapie and Devolder to save their energy for the final. Devolder then attacked five or six times in the last 15 kms – “He killed (Quick Step’s Tom) Boonen alone,” said Demol – and Roulston covered another acceleration just before Van Impe attacked and Hincapie joined him in the winning move.
“I didn’t know much about him,” Hincapie said of Van Impe. “Dirk said he was good and I still had enough left. I didn’t feel great following yesterday. I felt great yesterday (finishing 30th at Het Volk) and was there on the last climb but we still had 65 kms to the finish. Today I was feeling that effort but still had enough to finish it off.”
“It’s a nice win for us,” said Demol. “From what I saw, almost everyone is on a very good level. This weekend was our first big test and winning today was great.”Results
1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 190km in 4:48:38
2. Kevin Van Impe (B), Chocolade Jacques, at 0:01
3. Bert Roesems (B), Davitamon – Lotto, at 0:14
4. Nico Eeckhout (B), Chocolade Jacques, at 0:28
5. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto
6. Roy Sentjens (B), Rabobank, all s.t.
7. Hayden Roulston (NZ), Discovery Channel, at 0:30
8. Serge Baguet (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0;39
9. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz), Crédit Agricole, 0:44
10. Andreas Klier (G), T-Mobile, at 0:45
11. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quickstep
12. Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank, all s.t.
13. Jimmy Engoulvent (F), Cofidis, at 1:17
14. Gorik Gardeyn (B), MrBookmaker.com, at 1:31
15. Mark Renshaw (Aus), FDJ.com
16. Johan Coenen (B), MrBookmaker.com
17. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (B), Discovery Channel
18. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto
19. Karsten Kroon (Nl), Rabobank
20. Nico Mattan (B), Davitamon-Lotto
21. Bart Voskamp (Nl), Skil Moser
22. Tom Boonen (B), Quickstep
23. Bert Scheirlinckx (B), Flanders
24. Cédric Vasseur (F), Cofidis
25. Henk Vogels (Aus), Davitamon–Lotto
26. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto
27. Stijn Devolder (B), Discovery Channel
28. Cycril Lemoine (F), Crédit Agricole
29. Andy De Smet (B), Skil Moser
30. Kevin De Weert (B), Quickstep
31. Peter Van Petegem (B), Davitamon-Lotto
32. Leif Hoste (B), Discovery Channel, all s.t.190 starters, 32 finishersRecent Winners
2005 George Hincapie
2004 Steven De Jongh
2003 Roy Sentjens
2002 Jaan Kirsipuu
2001 Peter Van Petegem
2000 Andrei Tschmil
1999 Jo Planckaert
1998 Andrei Tschmil
1997 Johan Museeuw
1996 Rolf Sorensen
1995 Frederic Moncassin
1994 Johan Museeuw
1992 Olaf Ludwig
1991 Johnny Dauwe
1990 Hendrik Redant