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Strong day in the breakaway for Magnus Cort and Davide Ballerini in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

In today’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Magnus Cort made it into the early breakaway and Davide Ballerini joined him after Oude Kwaremont. In the end, they were together in a break of five riders until the final 10 kilometers, showing that Astana Pro Team is ready to fight for a result in the Classics. Bob Jungels, also part of the break of five, made it solo to the finish line after an attack in today’s final. Owain Doull finished second, Niki Terpstra third.

It was a hard race all day. We had Magnus Cort in the breakaway, but before Kwaremont, Quick Step forced another breakaway from the peloton. I was able to follow this move and later we caught the group of Magnus. Later we attacked from that group and created a new break of 5 riders. We did our best, but the attack of Jungels was just too hard, he was the strongest today. I want to thank my teammates for this whole weekend, thanks to them I could perform as I did. Yesterday I was unlucky with the crash, but today I was able to show what I’m capable of, -said Davide Ballerini.

Our strategy was to make this an aggressive race and to challenge the predictable outcome. The selection was made on the Oude Kwaremont and a big leading group was together at the Kruisberg, but then there was still more than 80 kilometers to go. When both Magnus Cort and Davide Ballerini ended up in a group of five, there was still more than 60 kilometers to go. It was just too a bit too much at the end, it was hard to stay clear of the chasing peloton with the teams who were aiming for a bunch sprint. If there was a bigger leading group there was a bigger chance of succeeding, but I think we can only see it as a good day, as we showed our colors as Astana Pro Team. We’ve seen good things today, like Davide Ballerini showing his capabilities and Magnus Cort displaying better legs than yesterday. I think as a team, we did a great job this weekend, -said sports director Lars Michaelsen.

Today was better than yesterday, I felt good and went into every breakaway, but at the end of the day, I was just empty. I did one more pull in the group that chased Bob Jungels, and then I dropped and did an easy ride to the finish. I think we had a good weekend with the team, we have some very strong riders that showed themselves in this weekend. It’s promising for all the other races that are coming up and especially for the next Belgian classics at the end of this month, - said Magnus Cort.

It was the second race of the traditional Opening Weekend: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. After a fast first hour of racing (46 km/h), a group of 7 riders was able to go clear, including Magnus Cort. They gained a maximum advantage of 4 minutes on the peloton, but just after the classic Oude Kwaremont climb, a select group of 7 riders took off from the peloton to catch the leading group shortly after. Davide Ballerini was one of the riders of this second group, and so Magnus Cort and Ballerini made it into the big leading group.

On one of the many cobbled sections, with still 65 kilometers to go, a group of five riders including Magnus Cort and Davide Ballerini attacked. They worked well together and managed to stay in front of the reduced peloton behind them. Going into the final local laps in Kuurne, everything was back together behind the five leaders. Bob Jungels attacked just before the final lap, and he made it solo to the finish line. Behind him, Magnus Cort did a final pull before getting dropped and Davide Ballerini chased Jungels together with the other two escapees, but they got also caught by the peloton.

Behind winner Bob Jungels, Owain Doull finished second after an attack from the peloton. Niki Terpstra was third and the first sprinter was last year’s winner Dylan Groenewegen, finishing fourth. Hugo Houle was the first rider of Astana Pro Team, taking the 20th place.

  


Photo: ©Getty Images

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