In theory, the route of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is tailor made for the race to end in a bunch sprint, yet, in last two editions things turned out differently. Last year, Jasper Stuyven attacked with 28 kilometres remaining and he was joined by Peter Sagan, Matteo Trentin, Tiesj Benoot and Luke Rowe. The race came down to a five-up sprint with Sagan taking the honours. And in 2016, Stuyven soloed to victory in the last 17 kilometres, so its been a while since the most sprinters friendly of all Flemish Classics came down to a bunch sprint. Three years ago Mark Cavendish outgunned Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani on the line.
Traditionally, the race sets off at Kuurne’s hippodrome and heads for the first climb of the day, Wolvenberg, which is crested at kilometre 32. The route continues via Onkerzeleberg (at kilometre 62.5) to string of five climbs in quick succession. La Houppe is crested at kilometre 82.5, Kanarieberg at kilometre 88.3, Kruisberg at kilometre 99.5, Hotond at kilometre 97.3 and Cote du Trieu at kilometre 105.3.
The riders are now halfway through Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and are closing in on Oude Kwaremont, a 2.2 kilometres climb with ramps up to 11.8%. Last year, things started to move at these very slopes when Stybar accelerated in the peloton and was accompanied by Küng and Benoot. Just after the top Van Avermaet, Sagan, Démare, Benoot, Stannard, Rowe, Naesen, Keukeleire, Trentin and Stuyven hooked up and this high-profile group reeled in the break of the day before Stuyven attacked with 28 kilometres remaining and was joined by Sagan, Trentin, Benoot and Rowe.
Oude Kwaremont is crested with 85.1 kilometres out and 7 kilometres later the riders travel over Kluisberg before they continue to Tiegemberg-Vossenhol (with 62.1 kilometres to go), Holstraat (57.5 kilometres) and the last climb, Nokereberg, which is just 350 metres.
The last 48.8 kilometres are pan flat, while Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne concludes with two local rounds of 15.3 kilometres.
Read also: results/race report 2018 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Video final 5 km