Thursday, August 5, 2021
HomeDiariesOmloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 - Day 3

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2008 – Day 3


Sunday dawned bright and clear and it was three refreshed men who headed for Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. This was bike skeking taken to a new level; two-and-a-half hours of it, and it wasn’t enough.

Batavus are an old favourite of ours and their ‘Professional X’ is cool, matt black against a tide of white this year.

We do like those Silence-Lotto Ridleys, the Basso’s of Jartazi are just a tad ‘blingey’ for us, but we like the CA Looks, the AG2R BH’s and the F des J Lapierres.

I had a good blether with Alan Buttler, the Astana mechanic, he’s moved across from Disco with Mr. Bruyneel; “It’s great, we can’t do much racing, thanks to ASO, but it’s a sound set-up.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Says it all, really.

I’m not a Trek man, but I liked last years colour scheme, this years? Well… I do like the SRAM ‘Red’ groupset though – different.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Jezza Hunt.

We had a moment with ex-British champion, Jeremy Hunt of CA, he’s a nice guy and still carries his Devon brogue, it’s hard to believe he’s been a pro since 1996.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Shimano electronic rear mech on the Skil-Shimano Koga.

‘Find’ of the day was the Shimano electronic gears to one of the Skil-Shimano Kogas and one of the Rabobank Colnagos; there’ll be a feature on Pez this week.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Front & Rear battery packs on the Rabo Colnagos.

The start at Kuurne is always chaotic and this year was no exception, despite the best efforts of the stewards, the crowd always seem to infiltrate the bunch and the oom-pah band have to be restrained from launching before the riders – it’s great!

Frites, Jupiler, rice cake and then skek the junior race – which was proceding at what looked liked pro speed; then head for the hills.

The top of the Kwaremont is a good spot, you can see the race three times, well – one of the three is actually at the top of the Cote de Trieu, which is only a five minute walk away.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Mathieu Claude (Bouygues Telecom) taking a bottle at the top of the Oude Kwaremont.

The cobbles on the Kwaremont need to be seen to be appreciated and when a guy like Devolder blasts past you in the big ring, it really is impressive. He was still at the front over the Trieu, if you were with him then you were still in the race, if not – it was all over.

We grabbed a bar for the finalé, pils and coffee this time. If you love the chess game that is pro racing, then you would have loved this one – QuickStep at their best, wonderful. For the second year running, they salvaged a disastrous Het Volk with a consumate lesson in professional cycling team tactics on the Sunday at Kuurne.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Karel Van Wynendaele – KBK was his idea – as was the Tour of Flanders.

Last year, big Gert Steegmans delivered Boonen to the line in an armchair, ‘The Tornado’ could hardly help but win.

This year, they put seven in the break, worked like bears to drive it clear without asking or expecting help, and at the end, just when the sprinters who had been unpaying passengers on the train were tightening their velcro straps, they allowed young Rabobank Dutchman Sebastian Langeveld go clear – but with their own Dutchman, Steven de Jongh (who won here in 2004) riding shotgun.

At the death, the wily old fox de Jongh was lengths clear, to give Patrick Lefevre something to smile about.

We would have loved a Boonen, Devolder or Steegmans win, but it was still a joy to watch QuickStep at their brilliant best.

Gilbert was a classy, convincing winner on the Saturday, he’s a French speaker, so we can’t indulge in the pagan idolatory we would reserve for a Fleming – but a great ride, nonethless.

Last item on the agenda was a drive down to Brabant and a meet with former British elite champion. To say his house is, “in the sticks” doesn’t do it justice.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Hamish gives it loads , Tour of Britain, 2007.

He’s a focussed, dedicated man and he looks you straight in the eye as he answers your questions.

Kuurne Brussel Kuurne
Hamish winning in Flanders, 2007.

The full interview will be on Pez soon, but meantime, we wish the Mancunian all the best for 2008; the British press have neglected him, hopefully we can help change that.

We left Hamish and his partner Emma, and headed west, off down those long straights to Charleroi, an Ibis Hotel, Ryanair and snow on the M77 – ah well, soon be the Primavera!

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

Bob Jungels Solos Victorious in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2019

Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne UCI 1.1 HC is the bridesmaid to Het Nieuwsblad’s UCI WT bride but it’s a race with a long history dating back to 1946 and has some interesting winners including Roger De Vlaeminck, Patrick Sercu, Johan Museeuw, George Hincapie, Cav – and a certain Patrick Lefevere in 1978.

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.

Kasper Keeps Cool in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2020

I love the drive from Gent up to Kuurne for the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne semi-classic... staring out of the car window at the fields, the canals, tree-lined avenues, the steeples, tiny concrete roads that would be great to explore on the bike. There was a little rain on the way up but by the time we got to Kuurne it was a mild, sunny morning; ideal for wandering down the main drag where the busses line up and checking out 2020’s new hardware.

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.

Roadside at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and KBK 2018

Roadside at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and KBK 2018. The first classic weekend of the year has been and gone and safely back in a rather snowy Scotland I've got time to reflect on the Classic season opener. The glorious Belgian sunshine all weekend could not lift the thermometer and the riders endured bitterly cold conditions for both Het Nieuwsblad or Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. 

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne Bikes

It was Sean Connery's character in the film "The Untouchables" who suggested you don't bring a knife to a gun fight and it was clear that the weapons of choice at the opening classics weekend in Belgium would contribute to the outcome and individual's performance. Having wandered around the teams at both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne it became clear there was a lot of nice kit being readied to race.

At Random

Charlie Hebdo Massacre

If you're a VeloVeritas regular you'll be aware that we take full advantage of our, "right to rant." Freedom of Speech is something we take for granted in a Western Democracy. But recent events in Paris remind us that it's a principle which people surrender their lives to uphold.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Eight, Off to Tobago

If you want to escape from politics, Trinidad & Tobago ain't the place to come. In Rituals coffee shop they have the novel idea of screening the News channel, where politicians pontificate endlessly about the upcoming election (sound familiar, folks in the UK?) whilst 'New country' wails from the PA.

Steve Beech remembers Grant Thomas

Steve Beech sent us in his memories of his friend Grant Thomas and his ‘Golden Era’, the 70’s. Whilst he’s perhaps best remembered for winning the British Championship, his greatest triumphs came in The Netherlands – on road and track.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 12: Tonnerre > Vittel, 211.5km

Tour de France! Ca va? What does the '0' stand for in 02:30 ? "Oh my God, it's early!" Four hours sleep, as Barry White would say; "it's just not enough!" It's 14:19 and we're on the motorway, near Metz; we just got lost - no excuses, but the signage is grim. Destination Vittel.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Rest Day 2; Berne. Interviewing Jasper Stuyven and Dan McLay

'Rest day' - it's a misnomer if you're a fanatic; but you could do one interview then hang out, I guess? But if you're like us, confirmed saddos, then it's a great opportunity to get a lot of talking and snapping done. Albeit on rest days you can linger a bit longer over breakfast - which is nice in a week of always having to be somewhere/do something right now or in five minutes. We asked our Trek contact if we could get an interview with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, Jasper Stuyven.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 1: Pamplona – Pamplona, 16.5km TTT

The Rabobank boys sat on their "hotseats' in Pamplona for over 30 minutes, as team after team came close to their time of 19 minutes and 1 second for the opening stage of the 2012 Vuelta, but failed to surpass it.