Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeDiariesOmloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 - Day 2

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 – Day 2

-

Getting to Flanders yesterday was painful – a two hour delay at Prestwick, then a battle through the rush hour traffic on the Brussels ring road. We’re here for the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne.

Dave and I are getting good at indiscriminate lane changing and not indicating, but we really have to brush up on our tail-gating technique if we want to drive in the authentic Belgian fashion.

The mission for last night was to have a ‘few’ beers with Dirk Van Hove. Dirk gave me a lot of help with my Gary Wiggins tribute and is a mine of information about Belgian racing.

The dull ache in my head and desperate need for sleep all day Saturday indicated that we had perhaps gone past the defined ‘few’ boundary.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
The winner-to-be fights his way back to the bus after signing-on. There’s Freddy Maertens!

Anyway, we were up skeking bikes early this morning – to some this ritual is sad, but it’s one we never tire of.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Even with race radios, the pro’s need a little reminder of what’s to come.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Freddy Maertens.

There’s no room for ‘trick’ machines in Belgium, what gets respect are “tools”, no-nonsense hardware that takes the cobbles and bergs in its stride.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Tomas Buchacek – PSK Whirlpool.

Viktor is our style pundit – haute couture? Ridley, Lapierre, BH. Passé? we’ll say no more, I have friends who run bike shops and websites!

Viktor and I disagree on the Kogas of Skil-Shimano, I think they are cool, Vik says that the blue paint is wearing-on for; “flamboyant, like a f***ing Mercian!”

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
We bet you do have an opinion about this…

Viktor has also come down heavily against Slipstream’s Argyle, but the mere fact that we’re debating the subject, means that it’s doing what it’s supposed to – generate interest and publicity. We like it here though – it’s different.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Stuey tweaks just before the off.

It was sunny but very blowy at the roll out, Bettini was stone last and not looking like he was motivated to be there.

We headed off to the Berendries climb; our modus operandi is to see the start and catch the action a couple of times on the road, then watch the finalé in a bar.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Burgers on the Berendries. These boys maybe want to consider a different name for their enterprise!!

Berendries is almost exactly halfdistance – 100 kilometres – and the tail-wind-driven break was around six minutes clear at this stage. The bunch was being lead by QuickStep, who appeared to be relaxed about the staus quo. The peloton didn’t appear to be stressed either, but the faces of the guys off the back told a different story.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
The bunch swarms over the Berendries.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Stragglers on the Berendries.

Next stop was the Eickenberg climb at 150 kilometres; the break was still clear and it was on this nippy ramp that Gilbert turned on the afterburners. He was flying over the cobbles and he only stopped for breath once he had bridged-up to the break. Boonen didn’t look like a winner here, nor did Steegmans. There was no unch anymore, just little groups of survivors.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
David Boucher slides off the back of the break on the Eikenberg.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
That is one heck of a seatpost! Wee Stanislav Kozubek of Whirlpool’s Author.

It was bar time and we had our Diet Cokes and coffee (it was Sunday afternoon before we could face pils again) in front of us on the table just on 40 kilometres to go.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Thor meets the press.

Gilbert’s win was in the grand style and just to rub salt in the QuickStep wound, burrito boy Mike Friedman, resplendent in Argyle, was 14th with the laminated flooring team’s best 16th.

On the way back to Ghent we stopped off at Oudenaarde to see how the Flanders shop was faring without Frans Assez at the helm. The ex-pro and boss of the Flanders pro team would have made a world class window salesman – his patter was the best. Frans died two years ago, leaving a massive gap in a sport that can’t be filled.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Ronny Assez.

His son Ronny was a fair professional rider in his day and according to Vik; “he could suffer like a dog!” He’s a good talker too and as he showed us the latest carbon Flanders offering, all the way from China – just like yours – he explained; “We do this for 1,000 euros, but if we have a pro team, it must be 2,000 euros – to pay for the team!”

When we asked about the Pinarello replica, ‘double radius’ front forks, he explained; “Pinarello had the patent for a couple of years, but it’s expired now, so anyone can make them.”

We said our farewells to Ronny and headed for the world’s slowest Pizza Hut; which just happens to be in Ghent.

Instead of the usual abuse I get from Dave and Vik about the time it takes me to send-off my pictures at night, they were happy to lie on their beds; “maybe we took it a bit far last night boys?”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2016 Goes To Stuyven

The Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne adventure began when I met Craig Grieve, Spokes bike shop owner and U23 race team backer, early Friday morning, to get a picture of the newly-logoed team car. For Craig, the journey to Kuurne is a long haul; catching a ferry from Hull, arriving Saturday in time for the riders to recce part of the course. We caught up with them on Saturday night in Kortrijk for a pizza and to hear how their preparation has gone and to plan for the race.

Tomeke takes Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2007 at a canter

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2007. The portents for Sunday were better: we weren't hung-over; the sun was out; and we got up to the start at Kuurne without one wrong turning. The chemists were shut though, so Pozzato couldn't buy his hair gel. The start at Kuurne is always a real, "organised chaos" job, there's a riders enclosure but somehow, some riders get mixed up with the crowd and can't get back in to the start enclosure, so have to wait on the roll-out beginning, then cajole their way through the sea of people so as they can go to work.

A Friday in Flanders, the Day Before Het Nieuwsblad 2011

We're in Flanders for Het Nieuwsblad 2011 and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but first there are mechanics to annoy, bars to visit and bergs to climb. Donna Summer, Barry White, The Real Thing - and even a bit of Joe South; three pils for €5.40 and all the smoke you can handle - cigarettes and cigars - The Vivaldi, it's a proper bar. 'We won't kick the backside out of it, tonight,' says Dave on Thursday; but the pils was cold and smooth, the soul and disco flowed... we got to bed at 03:45 with all of Scottish Cycling and the UCI's problems sorted out.

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2018 – Dylan Groenewegen takes the sprint

Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-Jumbo & The Netherlands) goes from way out, Arnaud Demare (FDJ & France) scrambles for his wheel but is lengths back at the line with Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain & Italy) doing well for a man whose speciality is late season races in balmy Italy, taking third. We agree it was a great sprint from the Dutchman but it wasn't a vintage Kuurne Brussels Kuurne.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2016 Preview

The first weekend of the classic season is fast approaching, with the ‘semi-classics’, the 71st Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Elite 1.HC) on Saturday 27th Feb and 68th Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (1.HC) the next day; the heat and sun of the Middle East and Australasia being replaced with the cold and biting wind of the Flemish Heartland.

Traksel takes Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2010 – Best Belge in 8th Place

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. 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.

At Random

Everyone a Winner, Andre Greipel and Columbia again!

Andre Greipel - Columbia again! It's been quite a season for the US team, the wins started and have never stopped. Andre Greipel takes another stage.That was what Adam Hansen cited as the main difference between the old T-Mobile and the new High Road-Columbia; "now, we win races!"

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 11; Collecchio – Savona, 249 km. Mick Rogers Solo

Mick Rogers, a ride-and-a-half – especially given the Giro is only his second race back from the ‘clebuterol carry on.’ He must have looked after himself really well during his hiatus. If you count the 2000 season when he was a stagier with Mapei, this is his 15th pro season, he was with Mapei ’01 and ’03; QuickStep ’03, ‘04 and ’05; T-Mobile ’06 and ’07; the various incarnations of High Road/Columbia/HTC ’08, ’09 and 10; Sky ’11 and ’12 and Saxo/Tinkoff last year and this.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 17: Santander – Power 187.3 km

There were no ‘pistolero’ gestures in Santander – it wasn’t a moment for playing to the photo opportunity. Just sheer joy of a man being back where he belongs – if you’ve taken the knocks and clawed back, then you’ll know that feeling.

Andrea Tonti – Giro Tales with Cunego and Simoni’s Domestique

Having moved from London in 2016 to Casale Volpe, a small, secluded cycling-orientated B&B in Le Marche region of Central Italy, a gloriously hot July day last summer gave VeloVeritas reader Mike Curtis the chance to meet up and ride, relax and chat over lunch with local ex-pro and gregario di lusso Andrea Tonti.

Jez McCann – First Elite Kermis win at Zedelgem

It’s a while since VeloVeritas last spoke to Steve Skuse; Vik and I used to bump into him on our trips to the kermises. Steve got in touch the other day to tell us about another young man he’s looking after and who’s pulled off that difficult trick of winning a kermis in the Flatlands. And the better news is, he qualifies to ride for Bonnie Scotland... Jez McCann is the man; 19 years-old, raised in Gravesend, riding for Richardsons-Trek.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke – “I think I’ve shown I’m tactically aware”

VeloVeritas recently took time to talk to the man from Devon who is setting the early season roads of Southern France aflame - Endura's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. We spoke to him soon after took his fourth and fifth wins of the season-the second stage and the GC in the tough Tour Cycliste International Haut Var.