Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023 is traditionally the second classic of the year a day after the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023 and also the second of the delightful Opening Weekend. Riders who can take revenge in the race after a disappointing introduction to the Flemish cobblestones a day earlier. Or riders who are leader-for-a-day in KBK and want to shine and dream of a punishing solo. But the pack of fast men will only really warm to Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023, the first real big fish for the sprinters’ guild. Are we going to get a bunch sprint, a depleted group or a solo finish? Cycling-Classics.com looks ahead with the preview Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023!
Preview Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023
The days are beginning to lengthen, finally approaching the time when it is possible to race outside again in the evening. Nature is coming back to life, people are cheered by the flowers blooming and the trees coming back into leaf. On the last Saturday of February, the cycling enthusiast in its purest form gets all excited. Time for the Omloop and Kuurne Brussel Kuurne. Because in recent years KBK has undergone a transition and evolved from a glorified sprinters’ ball into a true classic that many a rider wants to have on his palmares! No shortage of big names this year, once again. Which cobbled or hard riding rider will break open the race and can win on the Brugsestraatweg?
When is Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023?
Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023 is scheduled for Sunday 26 February 2023 – one day after the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023. With the Omloop, Kuurne Brussel Kuurne is the second race in the Flemish Opening Weekend – considered by many to be the first really important cycling weekend of the year.
History Kuurne Brussels Kuurne
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is a professional cycling race held annually in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The race starts in Kuurne, a city in western Belgium, and ends in the city of Brussels after a lap of about 200 kilometres. The race is characterised by a number of short hills and unpaved stretches that the riders have to take, making it a challenging and exciting race for both riders and spectators.
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne will host the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, another professional cycling race in Belgium that is also held in the province of West Flanders. Together, both races mark the start of the cycling season in Belgium and are popular among locals.
The race is organised by the Belgian Cycling Federation and attracts many top cyclists from home and abroad every year. The race is known for its atmospheric atmosphere and is often visited by thousands of spectators along the route. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is an important part of the cycling calendar and is considered a prestigious race to win by many riders.
Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) won a thriller of a sprint in the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2022 edition. Jakobsen put in a scorching sprint, beating fast finishing rival Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in a millimetre sprint.
Route Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023
Last year, the organisers made a groundbreaking course change, swapping the traditional passage on the Oude Kwaremont for the very finicky cobbled section of Mont Saint-Laurent in le Pays Des Collines. For this edition – apart from some limited diversions due to works – there are hardly any changes to the route the riders will follow.
What is certain is that the Hainaut triptych includes newcomers with Hameau des Papins (1,200 metres, average 6.6%, max of 16.2%), Le Bourliquet (1,300 metres, average 6.8%, max of 15.3%) and Mont Saint-Laurent (1. 300 metres, aver. 7.8% max. 17%), along with the subsequent finale which includes the Hotond, the Côte de Trieu orte de Knokteberg and the Kluisberg, could turn the race upside down again, just like last year. Then you saw that the sprinters might find it even harder there than on the old course.
What has remained the same over the past decade: start location Kuurne, where the riders gather on the Brugsesteenweg. This is followed by a 195-kilometre route that includes 13 hills. The first is the famous Tiegemberg after just 16 kilometres of racing. From the cobbled Kattenberg, after 34 kilometres, it is by no means a metre flat. Because the Boembeek, the Bossenaarstraat, Berg ten Houte and la Houppe also follow in quick succession. Ninety kilometres from the end, the Hainaut hill passage then awaits.
The 500-metre-long Beerbosstraat, at 35 kilometres from the finish, is the last cobbled stretch and notable obstacle before the finish. After that, via the hilly Sint-Denijs, it is a fast trot towards Kuurne, where the finish line is crossed after 181.5 kilometres. What follows is another local lap of a good 15 kilometres through Kortrijk and Harelbeke. There the sprinters’ teams can still try to put things right, which always makes for exciting scenes.
Favourites Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023
While noting that the favourites for Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023 may still change after the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023, here is a first overview of favourites and star distribution the day before Kuurne 2023. Are we going to have a bunch sprint or will a real cobbled winner take revenge at the Omloop?
If it ends in a bunch sprint – or sprint with depleted elite group – there is a good chance that Soudal – Quick Step front man Fabio Jakobsen will be there. And the defending champion will appear at the start with only one aim: to triumph again. Although the Wolfpack anno 2023 are going through a transition from the classics to lap work – Kuurne Brussel Kuurne is another race where PatLef enco stand a great chance. Besides Jakobsen, Kasper Asgreen (so won there once already) or Florian Sénéchal or Yves Lampaert could also hit from the second line.
Soudal – Quick Step is going to have the biggest competition from Jumbo-Visma, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Lotto Dstny – as there are several classics with fast legs at the start.
We start with Christophe Laporte. Where in the preview of the Omloop we wrote about an ideal scenario for Jumbo-Visma with a win for Tiesj Benoot, we think that Arthur van Dongen’s team will benefit greatly from a win by the Frenchman in Kuurne. All balls on Laporte, so the slender klepper can then lick the cobbles clean in the Monuments for the absent Wout van Aert and shadow leader Dylan van Baarle in Kuurne. Wonderful scenario right?
That is where Belgians Jasper Philipsen and Arnaud de Lie disagree. It’s hard to predict the day before the Omloop, but winners that both men are, it doesn’t matter whether they finished short in the Omloop or not. Either way, these wolverines will travel to Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023 with great ambitions. At Alpecin-Deceuninck, Philipsen is the forward man, at Lotto-Dstny it’s all balls on De Lie.
At Norwegian Uno-X, they hope Alexander Kristoff will bring his form from the Algarve to Flanders. Can the brisk 35-year-old cobbled eater strike again?
Jasper Stuyven is one of our dark horses, as at Trek-Segafredo he will be given the licence to both sprint along or make the race hard from a smaller group and avoid a sprint. David Dekker and Edvald Boasson Hagen will also gamble on this, because if the group is too big they will have to give way. Then again, this does not apply to Pascal Ackermann. However, the top sprinter of yesteryear will only be able to win in a surprising course in our eyes, as Jakobsen, De Lie, Philopsen, Laporte and Kristoff are either faster or in better shape.
Favourites Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023 according to Voorjaarsklassiekers.be
***** Fabio Jakobsen
**** Arnaud de Lie
*** Jasper Philipsen
** Christophe Laporte
* Alexander Kristoff
Dark horses: Pascal Ackermann, David Dekker, Jasper Stuyven, Edvald Boasson Hagen