Thrilling one day races you might have missed in 2019: Brabantse Pijl

The Brabantse Pijl ( La Flèche Brabançonne) is traditionally held on Wednesday between Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold Race. A transitional race, a meeting point for the specialists of the cobbles and the Ardennes. The program of the 2019 edition was 196,2 km long, filled with no less, than 31 hills.

After a 126 km long first section, the route contained three 23,4 km long rounds (with three ascents inside the last 10 km) around the finish town, Overijse.  It was expected a solo victory, as it happened in the previous year when Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) attacked at 8 km to go and managed to reach the finish line first. No wonder, that the title holder’s team was quite active during the entire race. As were the riders of Deceuninck- Quick-Step too.

But the main protagonist of the day was definitely Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus). He already attacked at 62 km and a bit later at 58 km to go. There was a bigger breakaway group at the front of the race, but they were irrelevant and were caught at cca. 30 km to go. It was more important, that from time to time Lotto-Soudal and Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders launched their attacks from the peloton. For example, Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) and Mikkel Frolich Honoré (Deceninck-Quick-Step). But both of them were ordered back to the peloton, when the team bosses have learned, that Van der Poel is on the attack. Of course, they didn’t want to help the Dutch wunderkind.

One might have thought, those early unsuccessful attacks of Van der Poel have just wasted energy, but reaching the final 20 km it became clear, they haven’t. After caching the original breakaway riders, Daryl Impey (Dimension-Data) attacked twice, his second attempt lasted till 17 km to go, when Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) launched his attack. Only Wellens, Van der Poel and Michael Mattews (Team Sunweb) could follow him.

The quartet joined Impey, and a bit later dropped him, as Wellens attacked at 11 km. The defending champion had some other promising moves, he was seemingly the most active rider in this group. Also, Alaphilippe had another attack at 4,4 km. Matthews seemed to be the laziest during this phase of the race, therefore it was expected, that he would have the freshest legs for the final sprint.  But in the end, Van der Poel was the strongest, although he launched his sprint from the front of this group around 100 m to go.

In the late phase of the race, Bahrain-Merida controlled the actions in the peloton. Also,  it was glad to see, how Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal) took his part in the chasing. He already had an attack earlier (alongside with Petr Vakoc, it was another cooperation of the Lotto-Soudal and the Deceuninck Quick-Step). The Brabantse Pijl was one of the best races in his tragically short career either.

Top10 of the race:

1 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon – Circus 4:35:11
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick Step 0:00:00
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:00
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:00
5 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:11
6 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 0:00:12
7 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Team Dimension Data 0:00:12
8 Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team 0:00:12
9 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick Step 0:00:12
10 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot – Charles 0:00:12


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