Gilbert wins De Brabantse Pijl

Sprint finish decides race

Philippe Gilbert and his BMC team showed that they are on form and ready for the Ardennes Classics with a impressive victory at the De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne on Wednesday.

Gilbert missed a key attack and spent vital energy making a futile lone chase. However, he had something left for the high-speed finale. He was well placed after the attacks on the climb to the finishing straight and then managed to beat Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) in a close sprint. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) was third ahead of Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) and Björn Leukemans (Wanty - Groupe Gobert).

Gilbert led out the sprint, blocking the best line down the barriers. When Matthews came off his wheel, he cleverly moved across the road just enough to hold off the Australian and win with a bike throw.

"Matthews was the fastest, but I played it well because he had to close the gap to (Björn) Leukemans and (Wout) Poels in the descent and that cost him power," Gilbert said. "I also saw he was closed in in the last corner, but I waited, because I knew from the last times (up the climb), I didn't want to make the same mistake. It was perfect."

It was Gilbert's first race in Belgium this year and his first win of the season. He smiled as he headed back to the podium area and thanked his teammates who had ridden so hard to put him back in the race after a dangerous attack slipped away in the final hour of the race.

Matthews is on form and showing he is far more than just a sprinter in recent weeks, with victory at the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja and a stage win at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He has been assured the sprinter's role at the rapidly approaching Giro d'Italia and seems ready to show his huge potential.

"I had Simon Gerrans in the break, which took the pressure off. Then I had Daryl Impey to take me around the course and put me in good position. I had a good sprint to the finish, but Gilbert was just quicker today," he said sportingly, unconcerned that Gilbert moved him across the road.

"The sprint sort of worked out. My plan was to lay off and then come off the wheels at 50 metres to go. But I didn't quite have the legs to finish it off. It was a clean sprint, he clearly beat me."

Tony Gallopin came back from a late puncture to take third, the best of the rest, behind Gilbert and Matthews.

"I had a puncture with 25km to go, the worst moment. It was very hard to get back on and I made it with six or seven kilometres to go. That's the best I could have done," he said on television after the race.

"I had a break after the Tour of Flanders and this was a good race for me. I'm ready for the Classics. I want to do the best I can in the Ardennes, maybe even a podium, we'll see. Today's result confirms the form is there."

How it happened

The De Brabantse Pijl race traditionally marks the start of the Ardennes races, with the cotes of central Belgium, south of Brussels, replacing the cobbled climbs of Flanders.

The race start in the shadows of the spectacular central square of Leuven and ends with three circuits of a hilly 23.4km loop. Each one includes the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijsklerdaam climbs, with and the final Schavei - 720m long with a maximum gradient of 11 percent.

An early break shaped much of the race, with Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Mattia Pozzo and Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli), Matthias Brändle (IAM), Christopher Williams (Novo Nordisk) and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) spending much of the day out front.

They opened a maximum lead of 6:50, but the Lotto Belisol and Garmin-Sharp teams led the chase and the gap was down to just over a minute with two laps to go.

The climbs sparked constant attacks, with Kevin Reza (Europcar) very aggressive. He was joined by Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and several others with 25km to go, seemingly launching the attack that would go onto fight for victory. However Gilbert had missed the move and BMC had other ideas. The six break riders worked well together as the climbs and kilometres ticked down, but BMC was even stronger and then Gilbert tried to jump across the 15-second gap alone.

He didn't make it and was caught by an equally aggressive peloton, but that put the break within range and the whole race came back together with 10km to go.

Several riders tried further attacks but BMC, Orica-GreenEdge and Giant-Shimano were now riding as units and hoping for a sprint finish.

Wout Poels (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) tried to split the peloton on the final climb but he was kept in check.

A group of 20 or so riders took the final climb and the final corner together into the finishing straight. Gilbert was the only former winner in the race and clearly knew the finish well. He lead out along the left side of the road, forcing Matthews to go around him as he tried a late surge. However, Gilbert timed his own sprint perfectly and hung on to win by less than a wheel.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team4:54:26 
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
3Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol  
4Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
5Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
6Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp  
7Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
8Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
9Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling  
10Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team Katusha  
11Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano  
12Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar  
13Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Col) Colombia  
14Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:04 
15Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
16Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
17Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
18Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
19Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar  
20Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:10 
21Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia  
22Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
23Alexander Rybakov (Rus) Team Katusha  
24Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
25Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
26Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
27Nathan Brown (USA) Garmin Sharp0:00:12 
28Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:16 
29Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
30Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
31Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp - Endura  
32Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:22 
33Mauro Finetto (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
34Petr Vakoc (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
35Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
36Kirill Pozdnyakov (Rus) RusVelo  
37Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing  
38Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:25 
39Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling  
40Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp - Endura  
41Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling  
42Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp0:00:28 
43Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:33 
44Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli0:00:34 
45Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:39 
46Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
47Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge  
48Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:00:50 
49Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo0:01:16 
50Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling0:01:57 
51Nick Nuyens (Bel) Garmin Sharp  
52Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team  
53Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team  
54Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
55Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
56Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp  
57Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
58Nico Sijmens (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
59Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar0:02:43 
60Michel Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:03:30 
61Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling  
62Marc de Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
63Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
64Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
65Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
66Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
67Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
68Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
69Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
70Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
71Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge  
72Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia  
73Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol  
74Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano  
75Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:04:28 
76Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:05:19 
77Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team  
78Frantisek Padour (Cze) Team NetApp - Endura  
79Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
80Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
81Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
82Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team  
83Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
84Andrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
85Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo  
86Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
87Daniele Colli (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
88Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
89Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
90Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:07:33 
91Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
92Dennis Van Niekerk (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
93Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo  
94Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Col) Colombia  
95Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
96Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
97Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:09:38 
98Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano  
99Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
100Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Team Katusha  
101Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
102Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DSQRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNSMartin Wesemann (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMorgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFPerrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFCaleb Fairly (USA) Garmin Sharp  
DNFBenjamin King (USA) Garmin Sharp  
DNFKris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFDamien Howson (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
DNFCameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
DNFAdam Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge  
DNFSimon Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge  
DNFCheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFSea Keong Loh (Mas) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFMarco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha  
DNFMikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFAlexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
DNFJasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFFabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFMarco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFEmanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFSonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
DNFFilippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
DNFMateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFJérémy Bescond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFEdwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFJulien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFClément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRodolfo Andres Torres Agudelo (Col) Colombia  
DNFDuber Armando Quintero Artunduaga (Col) Colombia  
DNFEdward Fabian Diaz Cardenas (Col) Colombia  
DNFStefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling  
DNFJonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFFerekalsi Debesay Abrha (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFLinus Gerdemann (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFMartin Reimer (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFFrancesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFGiorgio Cecchinel (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFSamuele Conti (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFLuigi Miletta (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFMattia Pozzo (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFIvan Balykin (Ita) RusVelo  
DNFLeonid Krasnov (Rus) RusVelo  
DNFTimofey Kritskiy (Rus) RusVelo  
DNFAlexander Serov (Rus) RusVelo  
DNFIker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFJonathan McEvoy (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFErick Rowsell (GBr) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFDavid Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFKevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFJoonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFThomas Raeymaekers (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFChristopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFArthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFDavide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFKen Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFChristopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFMartijn Maaskant (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  


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