By Brecht Decaluwé
Four days after his solo victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) repeated that impressive performance in similar wet weather conditions near Brussels by attacking the gathered opposition in the 48th Brabantse Pijl. "Mimosa", as the French 28 year-old is nicknamed, attacked on the ascent of the Bruineput with 28km to go, and stayed clear until the finish line in Beersel.
There were more similarities to last Wednesday's race; it was the winner's first participation in the race, and again he was the first French rider on the race's palamarès. With this victory Chavanel ended Oscar Freire's domination of this race. The triple world champion had won on the Alsemberg three times in a row since 2005, but wasn't able to follow the winning move in 2008.
"Just like Wednesday I didn't know this course, as these are all races in which I've never competed, but apparently they suit me quite well. I've got a great week behind me and I hope that I'll be able to extend this form until the Tour of Flanders next week. Do note that I'm not the top favourite although I won Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl, as the Tour of Flanders is much more difficult and much longer," Chavanel said when talking to Sporza TV after the race.
When congratulated with his "grand numéro" Chavanel remained modest. "I can't help that I can stand the poor weather conditions pretty well. It rained all day and it was stone-cold, but if you win then that is easily forgotten."