Vakoc wins De Brabantse Pijl - La Fleche Brabanconne

Etixx-QuickStep rider crosses the line ahead of Gasparotto and Gallopin

Czech champion Petr Vakoc turned around Etixx-QuickStep's bad luck in the classics, winning the Brabantse Pijl ahead of Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal).

Vakoc broke clear with teammate Julian Alaphilppe on the penultimate climb, and the Frenchman pushed the pace all the way to the final ascent to Schavei where Vakoc was then able to make the winning move.

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) beat Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) in the sprint from the peloton.

"It was an amazing day and I'm really grateful to the team, they did an absolutely amazing job," Vakoc said. "In the final Julian was pulling the five of us, and I had this attack in my mind.

"Normally I would like to go a little later, but then everyone was hesitating a little in the final corner. I just went full gas - the steep climbs really suit me well. I went really hard to make the gap but it was still really long to the finish. When I looked back and saw the gap was getting bigger, it gave me more power and I couldn't stop. I left everything out there."

The win was Vakoc's third one-day victory of the season in addition to two best young rider titles in the Tour du Haut-Var and Tour La Provence, where he was also second overall. In February he won the Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech, and the Drôme Classic before coming fifth in Strade Bianche.

"It's maybe the biggest victory of my career," Vakoc said before looking ahead to this weekend's Amstel Gold Race, where he may now share leadership with his teammates. "I've been working a lot on my endurance, last year I did the Giro [d'Italia] which helped me with my condition. I like hard races, I like long races, maybe 250km could be a bit long, but I believe with the condition I have now I can do similar effort on the Cauberg on Sunday."

How it unfolded

Oliver Zaugg (IAM Cycling), Sergey Nikolaev (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Alberto Cecchin (Team Roth), and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) escaped early in the 205.3km Brabantse Pijl, and had a lead of more than five minutes, but with 16 climbs in the final 75km, the action really heated up as the race closed in on the three 23km final circuits.

Martin Mortensen (ONE Pro Cycling) made the first attack from the field as the leaders' gap had been reduced to 1:30, jumping clear on the IJskelderlaan. He seemed to be taking his attack casually as he waited for riders to come across, and was surprised to see the likes of Pieter Serry (Etixx - QuickStep), Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) join him with Christian Mager (Stölting Service Group) tacked on the back.

Serry, De Bie and Impey dropped their previous companions in an attempt to make the move stick, while behind them BMC's Dylan Teuns and Loic Vliegen attacked with Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and joined with the remnants of the earlier move. They were followed by Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie) making it nine men chasing the three leaders, who were 32 seconds ahead of them, while the peloton was 30 seconds behind with 57km to go. Eventually nine men would remain up front, with

The Holstheide with 57km to go split the chasing group, with just Vliegen, Tulik and Van der Sande making the bridge to the three leaders, making it six up front. Teuns, Mortensen and Buchmann ditched the other three and carried on their chase alone, just 15 seconds behind with 53.8km to go. Persistence paid off with the trio rejoining the leaders on the IJskelderlaan a few kilometres later.

Pieter Serry (Etixx - QuickStep), Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Christian Mager (Stölting Service Group), Martin Mortensen (ONE Pro Cycling), Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18), Dylan Teuns and Loic Vliegen (BMC Racing) continued to hold a 43 second gap as the race headed into the final two circuits.

On the sinuous route around Schavei, the peloton was a model of controlled chaos, with attacks jumping clear and being caught repeatedly and no one team in charge. There were punctures and crashes, too, with pre-race favourite Vakoc and Silvan Diller (BMC) one of several riders suffering punctures, while Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) crashed.

Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) escaped the clutches of the peloton on the way out of Schavei, but had a 40-second gap to bridge across and he was heavily marked. his teammate countered but was marked by Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) over the top of the Hagaard, but not even the Dutchman could make a move stick. With 40km to go, however, the attacks served to bring the leaders' advantage down to just 26 seconds.

Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) and Berden De Vries (Roompot) managed to escape the peloton and caught Buchmann, who had been dropped from the breakaway. The German champion had little left to contribute. Sam Oomen (Giant-Alepcin) came across soon after, but the chasers had only a few seconds on the peloton, with the leaders 23 seconds further ahead, thanks to a concerted chase by Cannondale for Tom-Jelte Slagter.

The chase paid off, with Cannondale first gobbling up Van der Sande before a surge from IAM Cycling shut down the rest of the escape. With 31km to go there were still seven climbs and one final circuit, and Orica-GreenEdge came to the front to control the race for Matthews.

The truce lasted for only a few kilometres before Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) used the IJskelderlaan to make a move off the front and was joined by Etixx-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe - a formidable duo with a 20-second gap with one lap to go.

Direct Energie started pitching in on the chase for Bryan Coquard, but backed off after Thomas Voeckler suffered a puncture. A surge from Roompot's Pieter Weening whittled the gap to 13 seconds inside the 20km to go mark before Orica-GreenEdge came back to the front to set the pace. On the cobbled Hertstraat climb, Alaphilippe desperately tried to keep the move going. The peloton could see the pair but just could not close the gap, and even Matthews himself came to the front to try to reel them in.

The efforts finally paid off with just over 10km to go, and on the Holstheide Weening went again and this time opened up a solid lead, and once again it was Etixx-QuickStep who went after him, with Gianni Meersman attempting to go across. Soon, Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) made it to Meersman with BMC's Alessandro De Marchi marking the move and the trio were brought back quickly by the peloton. With 6km to go, Weening too was caught back by a reduced peloton, setting up a hotly contested finale.

The IJskelderlaan was the last chance for the attackers to break away, and Gallopin followed a move from IAM's David Tanner, with Vakoc and Alaphilippe and Gasparotto making it across, forcing Matthews to lead the chase behind.

Alaphilippe sold out for his Czech teammate, pushing a furious pace into the final kilometre to open up a 10-second gap. The peloton behind shattered, with CCC Sprandi-Polkowice forcing the pace. Alaphilippe kept the throttle wide open into the final climb where Vakoc then made his move.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step4:48:50 
2Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:06 
3Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:00:12 
4Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:20 
5Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
6Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
7Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
8Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step  
9Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
10Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
11David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling  
12Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
13Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
14Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
15Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
16Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
17Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
18Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:00:28 
19Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
20Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela0:00:31 
21Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:32 
22Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:39 
23Gregor Muhlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 180:00:47 
24Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:00:49 
25Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:51 
26Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
27Dion Smith (NZl) ONE Pro Cycling  
28Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
29Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
30Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
31Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
32Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:00:59 
33Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:01:01 
34Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
35Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:09 
36Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
37Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela0:01:15 
38Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:19 
39Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:25 
40Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:46 
41Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
42Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 180:01:49 
43Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
44Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:01:51 
45Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:02:21 
46Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:02:27 
47Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
48Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
49Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team0:04:10 
50Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:19 
51Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:04:40 
52Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Stölting Service Group0:04:46 
53Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
54Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge  
55Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
56Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
57Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:05:04 
58Songezo Jim (RSA) Dimension Data0:06:20 
59George Harper (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling0:06:30 
60Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:06:49 
61Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
62Martin Mortensen (Den) ONE Pro Cycling  
63Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
64Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Stölting Service Group  
65David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
66Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling  
67Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
68Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
69Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
70Aydar Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
71Adam Stachowiak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
72Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
73Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
74Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
75Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
76Michal Podlaski (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
77Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
78Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group  
79Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
80Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
81Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Team Roth  
82Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
83Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
84Michael Reihs (Den) Stölting Service Group  
85Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
86Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
87Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data  
88Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
89Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
90Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling  
91Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
92Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
93Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
94Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
95Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie  
96Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18  
97Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie  
98Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
99Nicola Toffali (Ita) Team Roth  
100Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:07:19 
101Mads Pedersen (Den) Stölting Service Group0:07:22 
102Rayane Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:10:11 
103Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Dimension Data  
104Roman Kustadinchev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
105Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
106Roland Thalmann (Swi) Team Roth  
107Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Stölting Service Group  
108Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
109Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
110Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
111Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
112Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data  
113Samuel Williams (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling0:13:18 
114Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data  
115Peter Williams (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling  
116Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
117Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
118Alexey Kurbatov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
119Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
120Enrique Sanz (Spa) Southeast - Venezuela  
121Matteo Draperi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
122Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step  
123Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
124Oliver Zaugg (Swi) IAM Cycling  
125Nico Brüngger (Swi) Team Roth  
126Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie  
127Matthias Krizek (Aut) Team Roth  
128Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie  
129Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
130Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
131Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
132Phillip Gaimon (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
133Lucas Gaday Orozco (Arg) Team Roth  
134Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
135Hayden McCormick (NZl) ONE Pro Cycling  
136Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
137Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
138Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
139Jonas Koch (Ger) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
140José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18  
DNSNicolas Lefrancois (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFNathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFSean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFCheung King Lok (HKg) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFDamien Howson (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFChristian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFCaleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFCheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFLuca Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFAlessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFEmanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
DNFJosef Cerny (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFLeszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFLuis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFThomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFJordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFPeter Koning (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFTravis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFLachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFThomas Scully (NZl) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFSamuel Spokes (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
DNFFrederic Brun (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFMamyr Stash (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFSergey Nikolaev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
DNFYanto Barker (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling  
DNFSebastian Lander (Den) ONE Pro Cycling  
DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFSjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFLiam Bertazzo (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFGilbert Eugène Ducournau (Fra) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Stölting Service Group  
DNFChristian Mager (Ger) Stölting Service Group  
DNFStephen Clancy (Irl) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFBrian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFJavier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFAlberto Cecchin (Ita) Team Roth  
DNFGiacomo Tomio (Ita) Team Roth  
DNFJef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFKenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJens Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFPawel Charucki (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  

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