In fact, only two traditional bunch sprints occurred in the last six editions and Dylan Groenewegen (2018) and Mark Cavendish (2015) were the victors. Peter Sagan won a sprint of five in 2017, while Kasper Asgreen (2020), Bob Jungels (2019) and Jasper Stuyven (2016) powered to solo triumphs.
Last year route was redrawn – not longer two laps of 15 kilometres in the finale, but only one. The last climb was the Kluisberg, with still 50 kilometres remaining. The revamped route is still in place this year, but with an addition of one extra climb in the heart of the race.
The trend in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne has been for aggressive tactics and selective racing, resulting in dropped sprinters desperately trying to make it back to the peloton in the last 50 kilometres. Given the time of year, inclement weather adds an extra element of excitement to the race. Strong winds and icy rain often contribute to how Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne unfolds – which is often dramatic but compelling.
Last year, Kasper Asgreen attacked with roughly 30 kilometres out and he rejoined the two remaining riders in the breakaway, Roy Jans and Boris Vallée. The Dane began a solo inside the last 10 kilometres and he won the race only 3 seconds ahead of the first sprinters in the peloton, Giacomo Nizzolo and Alexander Kristoff.
Favourites 2021 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
*** Arnaud Démare, Yves Lampaert, Mads Pedersen
** Stefan Küng, Jasper Stuyven, Matteo Trentin, Kasper Asgreen
* John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Nils Eekhoff, Tim Merlier