Wout van Aert impressively wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Wout van Aert impressively wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Wout van Aert crowned his strong opening weekend with a win in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The 29-year-old Belgian of Team Visma | Lease a Bike opened race early, before convincingly beating his two fellow escapees Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano in the sprint. It was another perfect score for the yellow-and-black formation in the Flemish opening weekend.

After a wait-and-see first hour in which no breakaway emerged, a leading group of five riders was given a gap by the peloton. With the crucial hilly zones in sight, Team Visma | Lease a Bike put pressure in the peloton. A depleted group - including Van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Dylan van Baarle and Matteo Jorgenson - rode towards the front of the race in no time.

"The logical tactic for us was to make the race as hard as possible", Van Aert said afterwards. "The pace we maintained was super high. It was a matter of time for the bunch to break into several pieces."

During the climb of Mont Saint-Laurent - 85 kilometres from the finish line - Van Aert increased the tempo. Only Wellens and Lazkano managed to follow the Belgian's pace. The trio then rode towards the finish line in Kuurne, where Van Aert sprinted convincingly towards victory in his first participation in this spring classic.

"This was a perfect opening weekend", Van Aert continued. "We won both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne again, but especially the way we did it was great. This victory felt good. Once again we were at the start with a strong team, so there was some pressure. I'm very proud that it worked out."

"To win both classics for a second year in a row is special"

Grischa Niermann

"It was a hard race. As expected before, the hilly zones would do damage. Only the strongest riders remained in front there. So with Wellens and Lazkano I had found the perfect companions. The tailwind in the final gave us an advantage in order to make it to the finish. I stayed focused to counter possible attacks, but I was very confident to round it off", the Belgian said.

Obviously, sports director Grischa Niermann was satisfied: "We can look back on this weekend hugely satisfied. We had a good plan for both races, but today Wout was simply the strongest rider in the race. He gave a convincing impression, so that's why we decided to ride for him. For the second year in a row we managed to win both classics in the opening weekend, which is special. We form a tight group that would do anything for each other. We are going into another altitude camp now with a good feeling."

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