Following the start near Hippodrome Kuurne and a flat start the first hill takes the shape of Tiegemberg (750 metres at 5.6%). The riders continue to Katteberg (600 metres at 6%), Boembeek (1,100 metres at 4.7%), Bossenaarstraat (1,300 metres at 5.6%) and Berg ten Houte (1,100 metres at 6%). All climbs in the so called Flemish Ardennes.
The riders enter French speaking territory when they penetrate Pays des Collines – or, Land of the Hills – in Hainaut Provence. The terrain doesn’t change though and the next series of climbs go by the names of La Houppe (1,880 metres at 4.8%), Hameau des Papins (1,200 metres at 6.6%), Le Bourliquet (1,300 metres at 6.8%) and Mont Saint-Laurent (1,330 metres at 7.8%). By now, the race is expected to really catch fire.
Back in Dutch speaking Belgium there is a quartet hills remaining. After the Kruisberg (1,800 metres at 4.8%), Hotond (2,700 metres at 3.1%), Côte de Trieu (1,260 metres at 7%) and Kluisberg (1,100 metres at 6%) there is roughly 50 kilometres of racing ahead.
Big question at this point: Where are the fast men? Chances are that they have been dropped in the hilly zone. Is the damage limited and are they able to make it back to the main group? Obviously, the riders at the front will be motivated to keep the pace high. Often the last hour of racing turns out to be a fascinating display of cat and mouse with one group chasing the other at a ferocious pace. Strong winds would amplify the tension to the extreme.
Last year’s finale started even earlier, as Mathieu van der Poel attacked 85 kilometres before the finish. With Jhonatan Narváez he joined the breakaway and – with the Dutchman doing the bulk of the work – they managed to hold off the different chase groups until the last 2 kilometres. In the ensuing sprint Mads Pedersen took the spoils.
In doing so, the Dane succeeded Kasper Asgreen (2021), Bob Jungels (2020), Dylan Groenewegen (2018), Peter Sagan (2017), Jasper Stuyven (2016), and Mark Cavendish (2015).
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Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2022: route, profiles, more
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