Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2010: “Opgave door storm” says the headline, of Tom Boonen – ‘gave up during the storm‘; I don’t ever remember seeing that headline about Eddy Merckx.

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The Belgian press aren’t happy.

For the last four years, Kuurne Brussels Kuurne is where QuickStep have pulled the fat out of the fire on the Sunday, after a disastrous Het Volk on the Saturday.

Not on Sunday, the best QuickStep could muster was Wouter Weylandt in 12th place at 6:41 – I wouldn’t want to be a QuickStep rider today, when old Lefevre calls; ‘tell him I’m no’ in hen!

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Niko’s Principia.
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The winner’s team setup.
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Chava heading for 22nd place, and an appointment with Mr. Lefevre at 09.00am in the morning.

It’s all very well saying that it’s early days yet and that the big classics are still to come, but the big money Belgian teams have missed out on two of a very limited number of opportunities for max media attention. That said, a win at the Ronde or Paris-Roubaix and all will be forgiven.

Flecha has established himself as a potential winner of both races and this weekend his team has shown that there’s more to them than being crit and 8km TTT winners.

There’s also a whole posse of Cervélos who are in the mix – Haussler, Hammond, Hushovd, Rollin, Hunt and Lloyd.

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Haussler hopes to improve on his great results in the classics last season.
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Rollin will get a big result this year, we reckon.

The two cobbled monuments aren’t just going to be about to be just about Devolder, Boonen and Gilbert. Said three riders’ combined salary will total at least two million euros. Their sponsors can’t be happy about the weekend.

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Ian Stannard leads Martin Velits.
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Ken Illegems, Sky spannerman.
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Bike of the weekend

Flecha will be on good money at Sky, way into six figures but the only way David Brailsford can truly get value for money for Rupert Murdoch is with a mega performance in Le Tour.

David was going to go to print with figures for the budgets of the top teams; but strangely, he hasn’t got round to it, yet.

Bobby Traksel will be on a tenth of Flecha’s money – but his win at Kuurne will have given his Dutch Vacansoleil team media exposure valued in hundreds of thousands of euros, they’ll be ecstatic.

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Traksel on the Kwaremont.

One of the prizes for winning Kuurne is a stuffed donkey; the folks who live in Kuurne have the nick name ‘donkeys’ – not in derogatory terms but in praise of their qualities of toughness and determination.

Bobby certainly lived up to those values.

He looked strong and determined as he crested the Kwaremont; we never thought for a moment that we were looking at the winner.

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Oor Dave, showing just how cold and wet it was on the Kwaremont.

We used to have a favourite bar in Avelgem where we watched the KBK finale – the owner was ancient, his dog looked even older.

The TV was tiny but the beer was good and he used to lay out little nibbles for us – we loved the place, every year there were hand shakes all round.

Then, one year we arrived and old boy, dog and TV were all gone – we still wonder what became of them.

Fave bar now is at the station at Ronse, quiet, clean, big TV – perfect.

Welcome to Ronse” said our well-oiled new chum, over to our right, when he saw our notebook and camera.

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“Onthaal aan Ronse, mijn vriend. Ik zal een bier hebben.”

The finale wasn’t spectacular but it was brutal; headwinds, rain and hard men falling apart in front of your very eyes.

Stannard rode an excellent race, dogged, determined – displaying ‘grinta‘ as the Italians say. He doesn’t have huge palmares but he rode a solid 2009 programme with ISD, including the Giro.

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Eyes swollen with the five hours of cold and rain, Stannard could barely speak to the press after the race, he was so cold.

Call us sentimental or biased but as we drove back down to Gent we felt like something was missing.

Het Volk [sic] and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne with no Belgians in the mix – as Ivan would say; “it’s no right!

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Beppu, like most of the field, thought ‘sod this’.

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2010 Result

1 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Vacansoleil 4:43:16
2 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:02
4 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Team HTC -Columbia 0:01:00
5 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo TestTeam 0:02:59
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo TestTeam
7 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom 0:05:40
8 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet — Colnago 0:05:43
9 Grégory Rast (Swi) Radioshack 0:05:54
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank 0:05:55
11 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil 0:06:01
12 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step 0:06:41
13 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R — La Mondiale
14 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Radioshack 0:06:44
15 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:06:46
16 Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:06:50
17 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil – Shimano
18 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo TestTeam
19 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne
20 Hans Dekkers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet — Colnago 0:06:55
21 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post — Sean Kelly Team 0:06:56
22 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:07:09
23 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:07:29
24 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne 0:09:05
25 Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram 0:09:46
26 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky 0:13:58

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Tyler, large, on the team bus. Grrr.