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De Brabantse Pijl
« on: April 10, 2017, 09:30 »
De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne 2017

April 12th

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.


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)

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:
  • #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)
The ~pdf provisional startlist 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.

Live broadcast will be available on Sunday afternoon, and for the first time also on Eurosport.
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    AG

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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #1 on: April 10, 2017, 10:21 »
    Hope Gilbert carries his super hot form into this race  :D
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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 13:20 »
    #lotto Gallopin is not riding, looks like he was only scheduled as "reserve" anyway, for whatever reason.

    I'm looking forward to see what #wallonie Justin Jules can do. He has never featured in a race of this caliber before, but he really seems to be flying at the moment.
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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 00:29 »
    Alaphilippe is not riding hte Ardennes classics due to a knee injury

    http://www.quickstepfloorscycling.com/en/news/detail/alaphilippe-ruled-out-of-ardennes-classics/3114

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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 08:19 »
    Star rating:

    *be Het Nieuwsblad

    :*:*:*:*:* Gilbert
    :*:*:*:* Hermans, Matthews
    :*:*:* Wellens, Colbrelli, Coquard
    :*:* Benoot, Vakoc, Gerrans, Teuns
    :* van der Sande, de Bie, Devenyns, Gasparotto, Impey
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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 10:16 »
    pretty low rating for Gerrans.

    as a winner of Liege I would have thought he would have rated a bit higher
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 10:50 »
    pretty low rating for Gerrans.

    as a winner of Liege I would have thought he would have rated a bit higher

    Not to mention Gaspa.

    It's a Belgian newspaper after all.
    Hence 2015 winner and non sprinter gets four stars, 2016 winner who can sprint, gets just two.
    Especially when three of the other four favourites they name are sprinters.
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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 10:54 »
    oh I missed Gasparotto - that is way lower than I would have for him too.   The same as Van der Sande?   really?    :lol


    Bit high for Coquard perhaps.   Colbrelli has been doing very well on the cobbles so he is definitely a chance

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  • Servais Knavendish

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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 21:03 »
      Colbrelli has been doing very well on the cobbles so he is definitely a chance

     :cool
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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #9 on: April 13, 2017, 02:48 »
    That was a fun race.   We can only hope that all of the Ardennes are raced as hard and as early as that one ...

    Action started with about 50 to go  (or so) - a group of 7 bought back the break and moved off and started working well.   A group of 4 bridged up and the group of 13 riders now worked together for a while to form a gap of between 15 - 40 seconds.   It seemed to nearly close, then they would move away again ...

    Direct Energy missed it and chased hard for a considerable time.   Sunweb had one of the favourites in Bling Matthews, but was nowhere near the front at any point of the chase.

    With about 30 to go the break seemed to realise that Sonny Colbrelli was there - with a team mate - and none of them really had a chance if he was with them .... so all pretty much stopped working.

    Colbrelli did the next 20 km's or so almost on his own.  Someone else (not his team mate Bole) would take a turn at times, but Colbrelli was the one

    At 10 km to go Colbrelli went back and had a chat to Bole - and Bole came to the front and stayed there until he was done.

    Behind the peleton was chasing back to a reasonable gap once again - and on the penultimate climb previous winners Tim Wellens and Peter Vakoc attacked and got away.  Gilbert then sat on the front and slowed things down - giving the riders off the front the race.

    This was the only thing Quickstep did right (and even then its debatable)

    Vakoc and Wellens did not bridge over that climb - nor on the 6 km flat between that and the last climb.  And because Quickstep had Vakoc coming, they didnt do anything off the front either (even though there were 2 out of the 8 or so left at the front).  The two persuers finally reached the break halfway up the last climb - but it definitely was not a long enough climb to distance Colbrelli in what was left of it - so the group came to the line together - and surprise, surprise, the sprinter won it easily.

    At no time was the gap between the peleton and the break greater than 40 seconds .... but in the end, they stayed away to contest the finish - and there is no doubt the strongest guy won.

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    Re: De Brabantse Pijl
    « Reply #10 on: April 13, 2017, 02:57 »
    What we learned



    1 - Colbrelli takes his form from the cobbles into the hills.   Is he good enough to contest the bigger and harder hills of Amstel Gold?  Dunno - the longer distance will suit him I think as he lasted the earlier long races well.  Just a matter of hanging on over some of those climbs.

    2 - Quickstep's tactics are not any better.  They had 2 in the break and were with a sprinter that they knew would win if they took him to the finish - and they didnt attack, didnt 1-2, didnt try anything at all in fact.  They waited for Vakoc to bridge in the forlorne hope that he could slay the dragon ....

    Whether attacks would have worked or not is unknown - probably unlikely as the race was less than 200km so Colbrelli would have had a bit still in the tank - but they didnt even try.   What they decided was that they could outsprint him  :fp

    3 - Matthews ... was nowhere.    He ended up finishing 11th which looks better on the results sheet than he did during the race.  His tea were totally invisible and he made essentially no attempt to do anything.   Was this just a training race for him?  or does he not have it ....   In the past he has always made an attempt to actually race this, so its not a good omen.

    4 - Benoot was strong after a disappointing spring so far.  Off the front, did a lot of work early in the break (before deciding not to work with Colbrelli) and a good sprint finish.   He would be happy with that hitout before the week to come.

    5 - Silvan Dillier was also very strong.  Great back up for GVA
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