Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty) was close to victory in the Brabantse Pijl, but just could not match Etixx-QuickStep's Petr Vakoc on the final steep pitch before the finish. Gasparotto came second ahead of Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) from a five-man breakaway.
"I thought Tony Gallopin was the strongest, but ultimately Petr Vakoc was too strong today. It was the best result, but I'm still disappointed not to have won for Antoine Demoitié," Gasparotto said.
Demoitié died of his injuries after being struck by a motorcycle following a crash during Gent-Wevelgem. The Wanty-Groupe Gobert squad then pulled out of the Three Days of De Panne, returning to competition in the Tour of Flanders, where Dimitri Claeys placed ninth.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert raced aggressively again in Brabantse Pijl, with Marco Minnaard attempting to bridge across to the breakaway, and Gasparotto trying to spark a few moves before finally making the winning split. Although he was not able to win, the 2012 Amstel Gold Race winner says his recent work paid off ahead of the Ardennes Classics.
"I'm very happy with my result. This rewards the hard work I've done for two weeks in Tenerife in Spain away from my teammates. I knew I was good since the Tour of Catalonia and I proved it today," Gasparotto said.