New name for KBK: Kuurne-Krazy-Kuurne. Wind, lashing rain and miserable road conditions made of a wild and brutal day of racing. Stormy Xynthia threw everything at the riders the second they dared to step from the safety of their team bus.
The climb of the Cote du Trieu was scrapped when high winds knocked a tree down over the road. A huge trash can blew across the course, knocking down Stijn Devolder. Lightening struck Leif Hoste and he glowed bright white for a solid hour (just kidding.) Cobblestones, crashing trees, flying trashcans — yeah, must be bike racing in Belgium in late February.
Big names like Tom Boonen, Omloop winner Juan Antonio Flecha and Filippo Pozzatto decided dry clothes, a crackling fire and a mug of hot cocoa sounded better than finishing the course. As Pozzatto’s massive backside tattoo says: Only God Can Judge Me. Well, God and a few hundred thousand soaked Belgian fans. A big Did Not Fight goes on his race card.
Today victory smiled on those riders who looked around, saw the major stars were miserable and then decided to take their own chances. So it was breakaway man Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) who nailed the biggest win of his career as he out sprinted Rick Flens (Rabobank) and Ian Stannard (Sky Professional Cycling Team) to win the 63rd edition of Kuurne-Krazy-Kuurne.
“Sometimes they say I’m fat, but in these conditions it’s pretty helpful. I can deal well with this foul weather,” Traksel said after the race. “Perhaps I should’ve lowered my armwarmers, just like Steven de Jongh did in the past, to make an impression.”
“I’m not getting worse in these races, and I’m able to ride in a supple way, maintaining a small gear, which is crucial in the finale. These races, this weather… this is my environment.” Spoken like a true Dutch classics rider.
Kind of ironic that the Sunny Vacationers team won in such terrible weather conditions. Sky also racked up a double podium weekend with Juan Antonio Flecha’s first place yesterday in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. A great start for the British team and British rider Stannard.
The big loser was Cervelo who worked hard with Thor Hushovd and Dominique Rollin but didn’t have enough gas in the tank. Even tough guy Hushovd seemed to lose his motivation, hanging on the team car and giving up the chase. Hey, it could be worse, big fella — you could be missing two molars and fleeing the Italian dentist mafia like Mark Cavendish.
Omloop was fun but Kuurne was rockin’. We’ve seen a dog take out a rider but never a flying rubbish bin.
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