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Wout van Aert on winning Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: “I was very confident to round it off”

By Monica Buck

In an impressive display of power and strategy, Wout van Aert, clinched a commanding victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Van Aert’s triumph followed a strategic race plan that saw the peloton initially holding back, only to be dynamically split by the concerted efforts of Team Visma | Lease a Bike, propelling Van Aert alongside his fellow breakaway companions, Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano, towards the forefront of the race.

Van Aert’s tactical acumen shone brightly as he stated, “The logical tactic for us was to make the race as hard as possible. “The pace we maintained was super high. It was a matter of time for the bunch to break into several pieces.” This strategy paid dividends during the ascent of Mont Saint-Laurent, where Van Aert’s acceleration was matched only by Wellens and Lazkano, setting the stage for a thrilling finale.

Despite the challenging conditions and the high stakes, Van Aert remained focused, leveraging the tailwind in the final stretch to his advantage. “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,” Van Aert reflected on his strategic play in the closing kilometers.

The race’s climax saw Van Aert outpacing Wellens in a gripping sprint finish, with Lazkano’s late attack providing an unintentional lead-out for the Belgian powerhouse. Van Aert’s victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne not only underscored his exceptional form but also highlighted Team Visma | Lease a Bike’s dominant performance over the opening weekend, with sports director Grischa Niermann expressing immense satisfaction, “We can look back on this weekend hugely satisfied…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.”

Van Aert’s win at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, coupled with Jan Tratnik’s victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, underscored Visma | Lease a Bike’s strategic mastery and collective strength, setting an exhilarating tone for the Classics season ahead. Van Aert, reveling in the success, shared, “I’m really happy with this win and with the performance of this weekend…This was my first attempt at Kuurne and my first win,” showcasing his ambition and setting a high bar for the forthcoming races.