De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne 2017
After the excitement of the cobbled classics during the last couple of weeks, the 2nd part of April is dedicated to the hilly one day races, starting with the Flèche Brabançonne on Wednesday. Although it may not have the reputation to be as prestigious as the races following shortly after, it usually has the potential to outscore those races in terms of excitement and action nonetheless.
(http://ticker.live-radsport.ch/images/17040936052-streckenverlauf-de-brabantse-pijl---la-flegraveche-brabanccedilonne-2017.jpg)First organized in 1961, the Brabantse Pijl celebrates its 56th anniversary. Initially starting and finishing in Alsemberg, the course has changed several times over the past years, and since it's organized by Flanders Classics, the finish has been moved to Overijse. And apparently that's not only for the interesting terrain in this area, but also because it's the home town of the big boss of the company, and the riders go past his house several times on the finishing circuit.
That said boss plans a step up to World Tour level for the race, but for the moment the Brabantse Pijl is still organized as a 1.HC race as part of the UCI Europe Tour. Compared to last year, the course seems to be basically unchanged though, with 26 hellingen, some of them cobbled, and a tough 23.4km finishing circuit. (more details can be found in the ~pdf roadbook (http://www.debrabantsepijl.be/sites/default/files/fc17_tg_bp_technical_1.pdf))
Over the past years some of the biggest names in cycling like Phil Gilbert, Peter Sagan and Thomas Voeckler have won the race, and also this year the list of participants looks about as good as usual:
The ~pdf provisional startlist (http://www.debrabantsepijl.be/sites/default/files/pdf/race_start_list_bpl17_07042017.pdf) features everyone who has been on the podium here in the past years, and especially #sunweb Michael Matthews and #lotto Tony Gallopin (if he recovered from his crash on Sunday) will be keen to improve on their 2nd and 3rd places so far, but the competition will be fierce, with former winners #quickstep Petr Vakoc, Philippe Gilbert and #bmc Ben Hermans, and also guys like #wanty Enrico Gasparotto, #lotto Tim Wellens & Tiesj Benoot, #orica Simon Gerrans, #direct Bryan Coquard and many more.
- #quickstep Quick - Step Floors (WT)
- #bahrain Bahrain - Merida (WT)
- #bmc BMC Racing Team (WT)
- #cannondale Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team (WT)
- #lotto Lotto Soudal (WT)
- #orica Orica - Scott (WT)
- #dimension Team Dimension Data (WT)
- #jumbo Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (WT)
- #sunweb Team Sunweb (WT)
- #aquablue AQUA BLUE SPORT (PCT)
- #bardiani BARDIANI CSF (PCT)
- #ccc CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (PCT)
- #cofidis COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (PCT)
- #direct DIRECT ENERGIE (PCT)
- #fortuneo FORTUNEO - VITAL CONCEPT (PCT)
- #gazprom GAZPROM - RUSVELO (PCT)
- #academy ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY (PCT)
- #manzana MANZANA POSTOBON TEAM (PCT)
- #roompot Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij (PCT)
- #topsport SPORT VLAANDEREN - BALOISE (PCT)
- #novonordisk TEAM NOVO NORDISK (PCT)
- #verandas VERANDA'S WILLEMS - CRELAN (PCT)
- #wanty WANTY - GROUPE GOBERT (PCT)
- #wallonie WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT (PCT)
Live broadcast will be available on Sunday afternoon, and for the first time also on Eurosport.