Race report

On the offensive in Kuurne


Cobbled racing continued today at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, with the route taking on its traditional snaking parcours around the Belgian countryside. Early into the race a break of six riders was able to establish itself out front, with the peloton and all Team DSM riders settling into a rhythm as the kilometres ticked by.

A strong attacking duo broke clear at 85 kilometres to go, before the peloton started to increase the tempo and a fierce pace was set on the famous Oude Kwaremont. Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen rode very well on the cobbled climb, getting clear over the summit in a strong group that set off in pursuit of those ahead. It resulted in a long chase throughout the remainder of the race, with the gap slowly being brought back; standing at 15 seconds with ten kilometres to go.

After some strong turns those ahead were caught with two kilometres to go and Kragh Andersen tried to get clear in the slight crosswind section, putting in a big, stinging attack. Although initially getting a gap, riders were quickly in his wheel and he soon stopped his effort after another few hundred metres. Benoot tried his best to get up in the sprint for a good result and was the team’s first rider across the line, with Kragh Andersen not too far behind.

“It was good weather out there today, although with enough wind to make it a harder race,” said Kragh Andersen at the finish. “We were in a good position for the key points of Côte du Trieu and the Oude Kwaremont, and we were able to make the move. With Tiesj and I in that group, we tried to catch the group that was out front and we got them really late in the race. I tried to attack in the last kilometres, but when I look back I maybe should have waited for the sprint as guys were in my wheel quickly and I burned my bullet there. I think we did a good race still and we’re improving, the shape is fine at the moment and will hopefully be a bit better in the coming weeks.”

Team DSM coach Marc Reef added: “It went better than yesterday; we were in the race more. The circumstances were more in our advantage too with the wind today. We were able to save our energy in the first part of the race and then switch on for the Trieu, because that’s the important positioning part before the Kwaremont. We were there in a good position with three guys; Tiesj, Søren and Nils. Unfortunately Nils crashed on the Kwaremont so he lost contact with the group, but Søren and Tiesj were there in the front group that went over the top. The guys raced well and tried together with the group to bring back the five leaders. In the end, we motivated them to try and attack and think offensively because quite a few good sprinters came back to the group. We wanted to try and win the race with an attack instead of waiting for the sprint and maybe coming in the top five or ten. That’s what Søren tried to do but it wasn’t enough anymore to make the jump alone from the group. He followed Asgreen first but then when they were caught, he tried again but the others were immediately in his wheel. It’s a gamble, if we go for that or for the sprint, but we tried to race aggressively because we wanted to win. All in all, I’m happy to see how the guys rode today and it’s promising for the next races.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 PEDERSEN Mads Trek - Segafredo 4:37:04 200
2 TURGIS Anthony Team Total Direct Energie ,, 150
3 PIDCOCK Thomas INEOS Grenadiers ,, 125
21 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM ,, 5
28 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM ,, 5
43 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 1:48 -
91 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 4:52 -
93 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
1005 BRENNER Marco Team DSM -04:37:04 -
1005 KANTER Max Team DSM ,, -