classic cycle races
short story

"Kuurne in my heart", Jasper Stuyven talks about Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2016

2min reading time   by Jasper Stuyven on 21 February 2023
For as long as I can remember, my maternal grandparents have lived in Kuurne. Of course, I still go there regularly today, and when I was still expected in Howest - I combined my cycling career with studies in communication management - I often stayed with my grandmother.

Racing in Kuurne is therefore special to me. In 2010 my grandfather died and when I started as junior world champion a few months later, I wanted to win at all costs. It didn't work out then, but I knew at the time that one day I would come back and win.

During my first few years as a pro, the team decided not to compete in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. So I had no other option than to push internally for participation. I personally and repeatedly pleaded with the team management to be able to ride the opening weekend in Belgium. After all, for a Belgian cyclist nothing beats opening the season in the Omloop and Kuurne.

In 2016, the time had come and I was finally at the start of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, with a small lump in my throat and the sky-high ambition to deliver a banging performance there. The day before, in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, I was able to demonstrate how good I was. But unfortunately I crashed in a bend, so it was a bit of a gamble how well I would perform the next day.

Thank God, the crash the day before didn't impact me at all. I had slept well and was not bothered by the wounds to my elbow and knee. More than that, I felt super strong all day, and when I saw my chance and broke away from the group at more than 17 kilometres from the finish, I had wings. I rode the time trial of my life, and when I finally crossed the line alone, it was obvious for me that I should dedicate this victory to my grandfather.

Jasper Stuyven

Jasper Stuyven (Leuven, 17 april 1992) is een Belgisch wielrenner die sinds 2014 voor dezelfde ploeg rijdt, vanaf 2016 Trek-Segafredo geheten. Stuyven staat bekend als een goed sprinter. In 2021 won hij Milaan-Sanremo.
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