peloton/Tim De Waele
In a dominant show of force, Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen (Bel) won the 2014 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne out of a ten man breakaway that featured five Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step riders. With 70k left to ride in the 197k race Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step, with the help of Belkin, created the decisive split, which featured not only five Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step riders, but three Belkin riders as well. Only Johan Van Summeren (Bel) from Garmin Sharp and young Yves Lampaert (Bel) of Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise were able to make the split and represent their teams.
As the group quickly created a 1 minute advantage, SKY, Lotto and Katusha began to chase but failed to make any impression in the gap as the leading group of ten worked together flawlessly. At this point it was Tom Boonen’s race to loose. His teammates covered attacks from Belkin and VanSummeren in the closing kilometers of the final circuit around Kuurne and despite a challenge from Belkin’s Hofland at the line, Tom Boonen won the sprint and opened his Spring account early for his record setting third victory Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
‘In the final I was a bit nervous because we could only lose this race with five of us in the front.’- Tom Boonen
“I’m very happy about this victory especially if I think about yesterday’s race,” Tom Boonen said. “Today I felt good the entire day, I was completely recovered and this was a good sign. We did our race, we controlled the other teams and then on the Oude Kwaremont we accelerated. To be honest it wasn’t something programmed. Stijn Vandenbergh did a good tempo and at the top, after the false flat, we realized that we were all in the front. So we upped the pace and we went. It was still far from the finish and maybe a bit risky, but also the other teams who had to chase were tired. Fortunately we had three Belkin riders in the group and they really work hard with us. Everybody in the group worked hard to go to the finish. We all believed in this action. To me it was better to arrive in a small group instead of facing a bunch sprint, so we made the race hard. In the final I was a bit nervous because we could only lose this race with five of us in the front. In the last 20 kilometers we started to think about the sprint. I was expecting more attacks but there was a lot of wind and it wasn’t easy to attack. I have to thank the whole team. We showed once again that we are a good group. After the winter I understood that I was ok, that I was ready for a good season. I won at Tour of Qatar but of course this race in my home country has a special taste, even if it doesn’t change a lot. As usual we will check the ’the balance’ of my first part of the season after Roubaix, but of course this weekend makes me confident for the upcoming weeks.”
“It was very nice to have five guys in a group of 10 riders,” Vandenbergh, the rider who caused the split, said after the race. “At the Oude Kwaremont we had picked up the tempo and happened to get a gap. After that, with the wind it was a little bit like racing in Qatar. We did a good job, and all of the riders in the breakaway worked well together. It was a hard race. Not hard like yesterday with the rain and the cold, but when you are in front you have to ride hard to maintain the gap. Yesterday we did a good job, but lost some guys due to the cold. Today we showed we are one of the strongest teams for the Classics. That’s a good sign for us, but also for Tom to show he is back on the level of a couple years ago. It’s good for his confidence, and a day like today is good for the confidence of the whole team.”
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step 4:28:55
2. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling
4. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
5. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega-Pharma – Quick Step
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega-Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp