Discovery Channel Team Report
Following a well-timed move in the final 10 kilometers and finishing it off with a strong sprint in the last 300 meters, George Hincapie won the first ever race for the Discovery Channel team today in Kuurne, Belgium, taking the 58th Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Classic in cold and wintry conditions.
Hincapie became the first American to win the early season 190 kilometer Classic, the second such victory of his career. In 2001, Hincapie was the first American to win Gent-Wevelgem.
"It was a super hard race in nasty, cold and windy conditions," Hincapie said after the race. "It was a battle all day. At the end, every was so completely dead from the wind and all the attacks that there was no control at the front."
"For sure, George likes to race in this area, even in the cold conditions," Discovery Channel?s assistant sports manager Dirk Demol told Roadcycling.com. "Wevelgem is only around 10 kilometers from here and de Panne (Hincapie won last year's Three Days of the Panne stage race) is another 50 or so kilometers, so this seems to be one of his favorite areas."
Hincapie and Belgian Kevin Van Impe slipped away from the leaders in the last six kms and managed to stay clear. Hincapie sat on Van Impe's wheel in the finishing straight and his powerful sprint gave him the victory by one second. A chasing Bert Roesems came through in third place, at 14 seconds. The Discovery Channel's Hayden Roulston took seventh, at 30 seconds, while the main field came in at 1:17, comprised of the likes of Jurgen Van den Broeck (17th), Stijn Devolder (27th) and Leif Hoste (32nd).
"We were trying to make the race hard," Demol added. "Like yesterday (at Het Volk), although the final result wasn't great, the performance of the team was strong. Today, we seemed to always have someone in a good position, which helped for the final. I ordered the boys to try and spread the peloton and it worked well, putting us in a good situation at the end."
Towards the finish, Demol said he told Hincapie and Devolder to save their energy for the final. Devolder then attacked five or six times in the last 15 kms - "He killed (Tom) Boonen alone, and Roulston covered another acceleration just before Van Impe attacked and Hincapie joined him in the winning move,? Demol added.
"I didn't know much about him," was Hincapie?s comment when asked about Van Impe. "Dirk said he was good and I still had enough left. I didn't feel great following yesterday. I felt great yesterday (finishing 30th at Het Volk) and was there on the last climb but we still had 65 kms to the finish. Today I was feeling that effort but still had enough to finish it off."
"It's a nice win for us," Demol also told our reporter. "From what I saw, almost everyone is on a very good level. This weekend was our first big test and winning today was great."
Click here for complete Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne results.