1897. Not God but a handful of cycling citizens decide to found Veloclub 'Zonder Kommer' in Kuurne. Its name can be translated to without a care. And in fact the people of Kuurne didn't wait long to found their bicycle club. The bike itself, as we know it today, has been invented just ten years earlier. This sporting club lies at the basis of the local passion for cycling.
While the members of 'Zonder Kommer' choose to cycle, they decide to leave the hassle of organising to other mates, who founded the Sporting Club in 1929 and organised their first race on Easter Sunday in 1930: the Omloop van Cuerne for juniors. The races for pros, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, sprouted from this initiative.
The very first race Sunday of the cycling spring is a highlight in Kuurne. The local brass band De Letter Geletterden announces the arrival of the cycling saints with the song 'Oh When The Saints'. And not much later the first team puts its signature on the start sheet, while in front of the stage the first spectators wish each other 'ne Zaligen Hoogdag' or 'Blessed Sunday' with a pint of beer in their hands.
Anyone who wanted to see something of the spectacle in the 1950s and 1960s had to be on the market square at Kuurne church or near the Brugsesteenweg. This is where the starting gun was alternately fired and the finish line was also located. Ever since the very early years, the Sunday of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is considered a high day for the inhabitants of Kuurne. The race is so popular that the parish priest even starts his mass earlier, fearing that otherwise few people would show up.
The baseline of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne captures the imagination. The race is part of the local DNA and it wouldn't be the first time that a young talent emerged (prematurely) during the race. Just think of Geraint Thomas (2006), Remco Evenepoel (2018) and Cian Uijtdebroeks (2020) in KBK for juniors. And ofcourse nobody can forget the victory of Jasper Stuyven (2016) in the pro race. He finishes first after an impressive solo of 17 km and beats, among others, the reigning world champion Peter Sagan.
Some editions are ingrained in the public's memory, such as that of 1961. After his finish, Fred De Bruyne triumphantly declared that he had beaten Leon Van Daele. He claimed to have a tyre width lead. However, the finish photos do not show this. In fact, no difference can be seen with the naked eye. After some wrangling, the jury decides that, for the first time in its history, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne has an ex aequo, and two winners.
Or the 1978 edition, where a road error meant the leaders were suddenly behind the chasers. On entering Kortrijk, the police turn off to come out just ahead of the leaders. The chasers follow the police and are in the lead. After Lefevere has them taken out of the race, he agrees with Ludo Delcroix to sprint fairly for the win. Ludo tries in vain to wedge himself between the crowd control barrier and Patrick Lefevere. He may not have been the strongest, but he was the smartest. Even then.
'Ze zin doa!'
In "Ze zin doa!" you will discover the rich history of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. It is a book full of passion for the race, with an ode to the volunteers without whom there wouldn't be a race. It's a mix of contributions from Mart Smeets, Patrick Lefevere, José De Cauwer and photographs that bring the race to life.