Jasper stuns sprinters in KBK.
Young gun and best of all, genuine Belgian, Jasper Stuyven, went early and from long range and won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, stealing the biggest win of his career from the sprinters.
Somewhere his mentor and former development team boss Axel Merckx is pumping a first. Before signing with Trek (now Trek-Segafredo) Jasper was part of the Bontrager Trek team that also had Lawson Craddock and Joe Dombrowski.
I remember talking with Jasper at the Tour of California several years ago when he was still with Merckx. He seemed like a guy who wasn’t in awe of the WorldTour riders, that he was confident in his skills and upward trajectory.
He proved that last year on stage eight of the Vuelta a Espana, winning the sprint despite a fractured scaphoid suffered in a crash earlier in the stage. That kind of performance has hard-man written all over it.
In KBK, he didn’t need to overcome any injuries; his simply put his head down, Fabian Cancellara style, and powered away from everyone with thirty kilometers to go. Mini-Spartacus was in the house. As the TV commentator said, he took from “big, big, scalps.”
“It was pretty hard,” said Stuyven, who made it look easy, beating the likes of Kristoff, Boonen and world champion Peter Sagan. “It was really hard coming in alone, but I tried to manage and go as aero as possible.”
The nice part of the win was doing it himself. “Normally, I am not the man for solo rides; I surprised myself. But in the first lap I really paid attention to the wind, so when I went I knew what to expect and I just gave my all. I thought that maybe Tom [Boonen] would join me because he was very active, and I also knew that he would keep the group turning behind, so I knew I was in for a hard one.”
It’s been a fabulous weekend for Belgium with BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Stuyven taking out KBK. Let the Jupiler and Stella Artois flow.