Friday, 27 February 2015

133 days after Filippo Ganna won Chrono des Nations the best juniors will finally be back in action and start in the first big event of the season (and the first race from uci calendar), Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

Cycling junior


Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2015 (1.1) is going to be the 15th edition of the race. Last year, James Shaw won the race solo after attacking in the final two kilometers. Year later, James Shaw is preparing for his first race in espoirs with Lotto Soudal u23 team which will be Ster van Zwolle this weekend. Does it mean that if you win Kbk for juniors you are going to have a contract with big devo team for next year ? Probably not but Belgian opener is one of the most important one day races of the season.

Cycling junior
Road map (photo: http://www.kuurne-brussel-kuurne.be/)
The route is pretty much the same as previous edition but riders will face one heilingen less then last year and it will be five kilometers shorter then  in 2014 (119km instead of 124). Race will start in Kuurne of course and after pretty flat first part of the race which will give a chance for an early breakway to get away from peleton the race will start to spice up after riders pass through Oudenaarde. The first difficulty will be Edelare Top (1,5km long, avg. 4,2%, max 7%) after 33km of racing. This will be the first from seven hills in the next 43 kilometers that will be decisive and will split the field before the flat run to Kuurne. The rest of the hills are: Parkstraat (42km, 1.1km, avg. 5%, max 8%), Kanarieberg (52km, 1km, avg. 7.7% , max 14%), Kruisberg (56km, 1.9km, avg. 4% , max 9%), Hotond 60km, 1.3km, avg. 3% , max 7%), Holstraat (76km, 1km, avg. 5.2% , max 12%) and finally Nokereberg (83km, 0,35km, avg. 5.7% , max 7%). Last year crucial move was made on Kruisberg where Shaw attacked together with four more riders and never been brought back by peleton which splitted on the hills. The last forty kilometers are flat and will give a chance for a riders dropped on climbs to come back. 

Cycling junior
Last year's podium (photo:kuurne-brussel-kuurne.be) 
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Once again Belgian season opener brings very solid startlist with numerous teams from Belgium, Netherlands, France, & Denmark but number 1 on shirt went to young Brit Lewis Bulley from South East Cycling Team thanks to last year's win of James Shaw. If you want to know pre-race contenders you should take a closer look at Belgian top teams in first place. One of them is Balen BC which brings Cedric Buellens who was 16th last year, Ward Jaspers, who had a few podium places in smaller Belgian races last year plus tenth place in GC of Keizer der Juniores and Flandrien wunderkid, Jasper Philipsen who may surprise many if the race finish with a sprint from a bigger group. Next big team is Avia Cup Team which brings one of the juniors to watch, Dutch rider Pacal Eenkhoorn, together with strong Belgians: Thomas Vereecken & Bjorg Lambrecht. In French team Argenteuil Val de Seine you should note Guillaume Millasseau who was fifteenth last year and Theo Nicolas, winner of Bernaudeau Junior in 2014. Another French rider who might win on Sunday is Cyril Dendievel (seventh last year) who ride for Belgian team Zannata-Lotto which also brings very strong team with Belgians Jonas Castrique and Stan Dewulf. Tieltse Rennersclub is coming with Ronde van Vlaanderen 2014 winner, Aaron Verwilst and finally you always should consider Danish riders as favorites for any junior race actually. Team Pythonpro.com will be lead by Andreas Nielsen but I would also take a look at Mads Hjort who had some decent results on local area last year. Other notable starters: Joseph Fry, Shayne Pruvoost, Dries Vastmans, Maxence Moncassin, Pavel Sivakov, Ronann Vivier, Alan Riou & Rasmus Byriel Iversen. If you ask me I would bet on one of the Belgians: Buellens, Vereecken or Verwiilst but it's the first race of the season and it's very hard to predict the possible winners.

You can find full startlist here.

For the live ticker check Directvelo on Sunday.

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