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Wout van Aert powers to Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Victory

Following Jan Tratnik's win in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Sunday saw Wout van Aert's triumph in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. It was a perfect weekend for Visma | Lease a Bike

Wout van Aert powers to Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Victory

After a wait-and-see first hour in which no breakaway emerged, a leading group of five riders was given a gap by the peloton. With the crucial hilly zones in sight, Team Visma | Lease a Bike put pressure on the peloton. A depleted group - including Van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Dylan van Baarle and Matteo Jorgenson - rode towards the front of the race.

"The logical tactic for us was to make the race as hard as possible", Van Aert said afterwards. "The pace we maintained was super high. It was a matter of time for the bunch to break into several pieces."

Although crossing a host of the infamous Hellingen early on, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne is more tailored towards the sprinters than those who thrive on the cobbled climbs as the last real ascent comes a good 60 kilometres from the line.

During the climb of Mont Saint-Laurent - 85 kilometres from the finish line - Van Aert increased the tempo. Only Wellens and Lazkano managed to follow the Belgian's pace. The trio then rode towards the finish line in Kuurne, where Van Aert sprinted convincingly towards victory in his first participation in this spring classic.

Behind, Matteo Jorgensen, Matej Mohoric and PITHIE Laurence Pithie chased the trio but to no avail.

"This was a perfect opening weekend", Van Aert continued. "We won both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne again, but especially the way we did it was great. This victory felt good. Once again we were at the start with a strong team, so there was some pressure. I'm very proud that it worked out."

To make sure said sprinter's legs are sufficiently tired before the end though they had to take on the Kluisberg, Cote du Trieu, the Kruisberg, La Houppe, the Volkegemberg and the Tiegemberg. With the climbs well behind them, the breakaway headed towards Kuurne for one and a half laps of the traditional finishing circuit.

"It was a hard race. As expected before, the hilly zones would do damage. Only the strongest riders remained in front there. So with Wellens and Lazkano I had found the perfect companions. The tailwind in the final gave us an advantage in order to make it to the finish. I stayed focused to counter possible attacks, but I was very confident to round it off", the Belgian said.

Sports director Grischa Niermann was satisfied: "We can look back on this weekend hugely satisfied. We had a good plan for both races, but today Wout was simply the strongest rider in the race. He gave a convincing impression, so that's why we decided to ride for him. For the second year in a row we managed to win both classics in the opening weekend, which is special. We form a tight group that would do anything for each other. We are going into another altitude camp now with a good feeling."

2024 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Top 10

1  VAN AERT Wout Team Visma | Lease a Bike 4:21:01
2  WELLENS Tim UAE Team Emirates 0:00
3  LAZKANO Oier Movistar Team 0:00
4  LAPORTE Christophe Team Visma | Lease a Bike 1:23
5  EEKHOFF Nils Team dsm-firmenich PostNL 1:23
6  JEANNIÈRE Emilien TotalEnergies 1:23
7  LAMPERTI Luke Soudal - Quick Step 1:23
8  TAMINIAUX Lionel Lotto Dstny 1:23
9  MAYRHOFER Marius Tudor Pro Cycling Team 1:23
10  STUYVEN Jasper Lidl - Trek 1:23

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