Hermans holds off pack for Brabantse Pijl win

BMC rider survives from breakaway

Ben Hermans (BMC) held off the chasers with a huge effort on the final climb to win De Brabantse Pijl- La Flèche Brabançonne.

The Belgian race traditionally marks the switch from the cobbled Classics to the Ardennes Classics and the tough, twisting final circuits usually inspire some aggressive racing.

Hermans was in a late attack with David Tanner (IAM Cycling) that seemed doomed to be caught but he dug deep and managed to win alone, as the chasers scrambled for the placings. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) tried to lead out the sprint in pursuit of Hermans but could only finish second. 2014 winner and perhaps the BMC team leader for the race, Philippe Gilbert, finished third. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) was fourth and Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) was fifth.

Hermans needed time to catch his breath and understand what he had achieved before riding to the podium area. It was only the third win of his professional career, and the first since taking the Trofeo Inca in Mallorca back in 2011.

"The race was really hard in the beginning but I could stay on the wheels and save energy," he said. "I’ve done this race several times and I’d suffered in the past. But I told Philippe (Gilbert) that (I felt good) and said he should tell me if he wants to me to make the race hard and go in a counter-attack. That’s what I did and it went all good and I could win the race."

"I was very scared of being caught. You don’t have many chances to win a race in this way, if you’re not explosive and you don’t have a sprint like Philippe, you don’t have many chances. I was in a good position and had to push all the watts I had and lucky it was enough."

Matthews was disappointed to finish second for a second consecutive year but promised to try again in 2016.

"I had really good legs today and my team positioned me really well but unfortunately I had no teammates left in the last 15km. I just had to play my cards hoping that another team as going to bring it back. Unfortunately I won the sprint to the line but it was second, not for first."

"This is a race that suits me and that I enjoy racing. It’s really nice weather today and it’s a positive race to prepare for the Ardennes too. I’ll be back next year, trying to win it," he said.

How it happened

The 205km race route includes 26 tough climbs, with a loop south of Brussels via Waterloo after the start in the centre of Leuven, east of the capital. The climbs come thick and fast in the second half of the race on the tough 27km circuit that is covered four times.

The riders rolled out of Leuven in warm sunny weather and despite several attacks, the peloton stayed together for the first two hours. The trio of Alex Kirsch (Cult Energy), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne Seche) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) eventually got away and built a four-minute lead. Matthews and Gilbert were the two big favourites for victory and so the Orica-GreenEdge team took to the front of the peloton to lead the chase.

Kirsch was dropped quite quickly as the climbs started to take their toll but the other two ploughed on, making the peloton chase hard and causing a natural selection out of the back of the race. They were eventually caught with 30km to go but other attacks quickly formed as the huge crowds cheered them up the climbs.

Tanner and Hermans went away as BMC set up its tactical plan for Gilbert, with others setting off in pursuit of the pair. The chasing group of eight riders included Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing) and Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) but the peloton was preparing for the final and pulled back mid-way through the final lap.

Only Hermans and Tanner remained out front and had a 30-second lead with seven kilometres to go. It seemed they would be caught and Tanner faded on a climb, but Hermans powered on alone. Behind the Etixx-QuickStep team set up an attack by Julian Alaphilippe but he was quickly caught as CCC Sprandi rode for Rebellin and BMC protected Gilbert.

Hermans showed his strength by diving down the twisting descent and powering up the final Schavel climb in the final kilometre. He looked back twice after reaching the top and drove on, convinced that he could reach the finis alone. He was right because the sprinters refused to sacrifice their own chances and hesitated, giving some vital few seconds to secure his freedom.

Hermans focused on reaching the finishing straight and then eased up to savour his solo victory. Matthews lead out the sprint and won it well but it was second place, with Gilbert and the rest of the chase group just behind him.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team4:45:14 
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:00:02 
3Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
4Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal  
5Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
6Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
7Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
8Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
9Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
10Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
11Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
12Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar  
13Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
14Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
15Michel Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
16Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:00:14 
17Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:16 
18Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:19 
19Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step  
20Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
21Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:24 
22Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
23Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling  
24Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:28 
25Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:32 
26Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
27Huub Duyn (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton0:00:38 
28Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:00:42 
29Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:00:47 
30David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling  
31Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 180:00:52 
32Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:53 
33Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:02 
34Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
35Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
36Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
37Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
38Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling0:01:05 
39Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
40Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:09 
41Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Southeast  
42Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:01:23 
43Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:32 
44Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
45Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:01:45 
46Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:01:51 
47David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:02:02 
48Fabio Taborre (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:02:06 
49Mike Terpstra (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
50Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:02:16 
51Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:02:31 
52Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast0:02:53 
53Marc Demaar (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
54Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
55Stefan Schumacher (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
56Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18  
57Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:58 
58Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
59Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
60Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:03:03 
61Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
62Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
63Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar0:03:22 
64Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:04:39 
65Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk0:05:53 
66Arthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
67Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
68Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk  
69Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
70Reinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
71Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
72Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
73Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing  
74Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling  
75Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
76Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
77Yannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
78Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
79Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
80Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
81Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
82Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
83Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
84Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
85Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
86Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
87Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team  
88Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
89Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
90Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
91Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:10:14 
92Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
93Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
94Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin  
95Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
96Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
97Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
98Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
99Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
100Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast  
101Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
102Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
103Thomas Degand (Bel) IAM Cycling  
104Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:10:35 
105Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
106Federico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFCampbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFJan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFBiel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFMatthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling  
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFLouis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFDamien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFBrett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFChristian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFCameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFCheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFFredrik Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFBrian Bulgac (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFBarry Markus (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFJasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFFrancesco Chicchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFCarlos Galviz (Ven) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAlberto Nardin (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFFrantisek Padour (Cze) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFSonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFSimone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFAndrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFStefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFPhil Bauhaus (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFBartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFAnthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFBrice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFArnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement  
DNFGrega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFMarek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFKarel Hnik (Cze) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFChristian Mager (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMichael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFJoel Zangerle (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFSongezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJohnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Team Roompot Oranje Peloton  
DNFAlessandro Petacchi (Ita) Southeast  
DNFGiorgio Cecchinel (Ita) Southeast  
DNFSamuele Conti (Ita) Southeast  
DNFElia Favilli (Ita) Southeast  
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFBryan Naulleau (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFKevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFNicolas Lefrancois (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFChristopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFDavide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFChristopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFDaniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFLander Seynaeve (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFMarinus Cornelis Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNSBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNSMoreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNSNathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNSAlex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  


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