The opening weekend of the Belgian cycling season is also an opportunity for sprinters and riders to stretch their legs on easier roads. Of course, 12 hills and 4 cobbled sections will have to be tackled between Kuurne and Kuurne, but the long causeways leading to the finish should allow the fastest riders in the peloton to find victory on the Chaussée de Bruges. Unless there is a surprise, like the past two years …

As with the Het Nieuwsblad Circuit, no map has been revealed of this 73rd edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne to avoid the crowd of roadside supporters. The event poster says it more explicitly: stay home to follow the race with a piece of pie, like Sunday afternoons at Grandma’s. Prepare your coffee and your share of pastry, because there will be heavy on the program.

The main change concerns the start of the race: the Eikenmolen and its narrow road is removed to make way for the sequence of the Tiegemberg (dear to Oliver Naesen…) and the climb of the Boembeek. The rest of the program remains traditional, however, with a series of twelve climbs over nearly 150 kilometers, the last climbs of which are located 60 and 54 kilometers from the finish, namely Old Quaremont and Kluisberg. These climbs will therefore be an opportunity to tire the less dashing sprinters and possibly try to break through with a few runners.

However, it will be a question of being strong as the wide pavements will follow one another towards Kuurne after the last cobbled section of the Beerbosstraat, 35 kilometers from the goal. As usual, the riders will have to complete a local 16 kilometer loop via Kortrijk and Harelbeke before returning to the finish line drawn after 500 meters of a slightly sloping straight on the Chaussée de Bruges.

After two years of surprise victories from the daring forwards of the Quick Step team, will the sprinters regain power in Kuurne? In any case, the cancellation of many races at the start of the season has pushed massive packaging specialists onto the start list of this traditional semi-classic. Starting with French champion Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), who returns to the Belgian opening weekend for the first time since 2018. At the time, Picard had taken an encouraging second place behind Dylan Groenewegen. This season, he is the favorite, given his 14 victories recorded last year, and despite a checkered Tour de la Provence, during which he could not find the victory. If his teammates manage to place him well at the end of the race, he will be formidable. Because Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne seems to be THE race he can win.

However, there is no shortage of sprinters on the start list. Recent stage winner on the UAE Tour after a stage marked by the edges facing the desert wind, the Dutch champion Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) registered at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne for au less have an extra day of racing at the dawn of Strade Bianche. Evicted from the UAE Tour following a positive Covid-19 test from a member of the staff of Alpecin-Fenix, Van der Poel could not show his great condition, but he could clearly, given his peak of posted speed in the Emirates, give cover to Kuurne. Even if he says he will be there to support his Belgian team-mate Tim Merlier, admittedly fast, but who does not seem to be in top form yet unlike the Dutch champion. The same goes for Trek-Segafredo: if Jasper Stuyven has already shone attacking in the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne final, he will not necessarily be the best card for the American team in the event of a sprint. Where the Dane Mads Pedersen has already shown on the Etoile de Bessèges that he still has the speed to shine after a grueling race.

Another dilemma at UAE Team Emirates: if they were both discreet in the opening French races, which Norwegian Alexander Kristoff or Italian Matteo Trentin will play his card this Sunday? In the event of a sprint, the rider from the north will have the advantage, while his teammate de la Botte will rather be expected to rush the peloton. As at Deceuninck-Quick Step, where Alvaro José Hodeg will be the trump card in the event of a massive packaging (at least if he has recovered well from his fall on the Clasica de Almeria), while the outgoing winner Kasper Asgreen should for his part, lead the attacks towards Kuurne. Or at Lotto-Soudal where the role of the sprinter will go to the German John Degenkolb and the role of the mixer will be for Tim Wellens. While Ag2r Citroën Team can count on two renowned punchers to blow up the peloton: Oliver Naesen and Greg Van Avermaet.

And in the event of a sprint, there are still many competitors: Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-up Nation), Timothy Dupont (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels p / b KTM), Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Moreno Hofland (EF Education-Nippo) and Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) are all competitors to watch on these roads.

If the day will be potentially cloudy, the sun will gradually return during the afternoon. Temperatures will rise between 9 and 11 ° C on the Kuurne side, with a moderate north to northeast wind, blowing between 10 and 15 km / h.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organization requests that supporters follow the race on television, and therefore does not wish to broadcast the detailed route of the event.

The difficulties of the day:
Hill 1 – Km 17.1: Tiegemberg (1400 m at 4% average)
Hill 2 – Km 34.9: Volkegemberg (1000 m at 5%)
Paved section 1 – Km 35.2: Holleweg (700 m)
Paved section 2 – Km 48.3: Bontestraat (700 m)
Hill 3 – Km 56.7: Boembeek (1100 m at 4.8%)
Paved section 3 – Km 70.1: Gieterijstraat (300 m)
Hill 4 – Km 72.5: Bossenaarstraat (1300 m at 5.6%)
Hill 5 – Km 89.5: Mont Saint-Laurent (1300 m at 7.8%)
Hill 6 – Km 104: La Houppe (1880 m at 4.8%)
Hill 7 – Km 109.3: Kanarieberg (1000 m at 7.7%)
Hill 8 – Km 116.6: Kruisberg (1800 m at 4.8%)
Hill 9 – Km 118.2: Hotond (2700 m at 3.1%)
Hill 10 – Km 126.5: Côte du Trieu (1260 m at 7%)
Hill 11 – Km 136.2: Vieux Quaremont (2200 m at 4%)
Hill 12 – Km 142.9: Kluisberg (1100 m at 6%)
Paved section 4 – Km 161.4: Beerbosstraat (500 m)

Awards:
2011 Christopher Sutton (Aus)
2012 Mark Cavendish (G-B)
2013 Edition canceled due to snow
2014 Tom Boonen (BEL)
2015 Mark Cavendish (G-B)
2016 Jasper Stuyven (BEL)
2017 Peter Sagan (Svq)
2018 Dylan Groenewegen (P-B)
2019 Bob Jungels (Lux)
2020 Kasper Asgreen (Dan)

Direct TV:
– Live from 2:45 p.m. on La Une (RTBF) and RTBF Auvio
– Live from 2:45 p.m. on Één / Sporza (VRT) and on Sporza.be
– Live from 2:45 p.m. on Eurosport Player and Eurosport 2

03/02 – 1st stage: Bellegarde ›Bellegarde (141km)
02/04 – 2nd stage: Saint-Geniès ›La Calmette (154km)
02/05 – 3rd stage: Bessèges ›Bessèges (156km)
06/02 – 4th stage: Rousson ›Saint-Siffret (152km)
02/07 – 5th stage: Alès ›Alès (11km)

03/02 – 1st stage: Bellegarde ›Bellegarde (141km)
02/04 – 2nd stage: Saint-Geniès ›La Calmette (154km)
02/05 – 3rd stage: Bessèges ›Bessèges (156km)
06/02 – 4th stage: Rousson ›Saint-Siffret (152km)
02/07 – 5th stage: Alès ›Alès (11km)

03/02 – 1st stage: Bellegarde ›Bellegarde (141km)
02/04 – 2nd stage: Saint-Geniès ›La Calmette (154km)
02/05 – 3rd stage: Bessèges ›Bessèges (156km)
06/02 – 4th stage: Rousson ›Saint-Siffret (152km)
02/07 – 5th stage: Alès ›Alès (11km)

03/02 – 1st stage: Bellegarde ›Bellegarde (141km)
02/04 – 2nd stage: Saint-Geniès ›La Calmette (154km)
02/05 – 3rd stage: Bessèges ›Bessèges (156km)
06/02 – 4th stage: Rousson ›Saint-Siffret (152km)
02/07 – 5th stage: Alès ›Alès (11km)

03/02 – 1st stage: Bellegarde ›Bellegarde (141km)
02/04 – 2nd stage: Saint-Geniès ›La Calmette (154km)
02/05 – 3rd stage: Bessèges ›Bessèges (156km)
06/02 – 4th stage: Rousson ›Saint-Siffret (152km)
02/07 – 5th stage: Alès ›Alès (11km)

The stages: Thursday 11/02 – 1st stage: Aubagne> Six-fours-les-Plages (182.3 km) – Departure at 11:30 am and arrival around 4:00 pm

Friday 12/02 – 2nd stage: Cassis> Manosque (174.6 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 4:15 p.m.

Saturday 13/02 – 3rd stage: Istres> Mont Ventoux / Chalet Reynard (153.9 km) – Departure at 12:30 pm and arrival around 4:45 pm

Sunday 02/14 – 4th stage: Avignon> Salon-de-Provence (163.2 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 3:55 p.m.

The stages: Thursday 11/02 – 1st stage: Aubagne> Six-fours-les-Plages (182.3 km) – Departure at 11:30 am and arrival around 4:00 pm

Friday 12/02 – 2nd stage: Cassis> Manosque (174.6 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 4:15 p.m.

Saturday 13/02 – 3rd stage: Istres> Mont Ventoux / Chalet Reynard (153.9 km) – Departure at 12:30 pm and arrival around 4:45 pm

Sunday 02/14 – 4th stage: Avignon> Salon-de-Provence (163.2 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 3:55 p.m.

The stages: Thursday 11/02 – 1st stage: Aubagne> Six-fours-les-Plages (182.3 km) – Departure at 11:30 am and arrival around 4:00 pm

Friday 12/02 – 2nd stage: Cassis> Manosque (174.6 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 4:15 p.m.

Saturday 13/02 – 3rd stage: Istres> Mont Ventoux / Chalet Reynard (153.9 km) – Departure at 12:30 pm and arrival around 4:45 pm

Sunday 02/14 – 4th stage: Avignon> Salon-de-Provence (163.2 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 3:55 p.m.

The stages: Thursday 11/02 – 1st stage: Aubagne> Six-fours-les-Plages (182.3 km) – Departure at 11:30 am and arrival around 4:00 pm

Friday 12/02 – 2nd stage: Cassis> Manosque (174.6 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 4:15 p.m.

Saturday 13/02 – 3rd stage: Istres> Mont Ventoux / Chalet Reynard (153.9 km) – Departure at 12:30 pm and arrival around 4:45 pm

Sunday 02/14 – 4th stage: Avignon> Salon-de-Provence (163.2 km) – Start at 12:00 p.m. and finish around 3:55 p.m.

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Saturday 27/02 – 7th stage: Yas Island> Abu Dhabi (147 km) Direct TV: L’Équipe, Eurosport Netherlands

Direct TV: La Une (RTBF) and RTBF Auvio, Één / Sporza (VRT) and Sporza.be More info: official website

Direct TV: La Une (RTBF) and RTBF Auvio, Één / Sporza (VRT) and Sporza.be, Eurosport and Eurosport Player, GCN Pass More info: official website

Related title :
The list of riders entered from Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne 2021
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne 2021: our complete presentation of the 73rd edition

Ref: https://cyclismerevue.be