Colbrelli wins Brabantse Pijl

Quick-Step defense foiled by Italian

Bahrain-Merida’s Sonny Colbrelli surged to victory at Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl, getting clear of the peloton with a select group in the final 40 kilometres and taking a convincing win at the line in Overijse.

Defending champion Petr Vakoc (Quick-Step Floors) bridged up to the move in the closing kilometres to claim runner-up honours on the day, while Lotto Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot rounded out the podium in third.

"That was a tough race today, and we had to work really hard to stay out of reach of the peloton," Colbrelli said before the podium ceremony. "I’m very happy to have won this race, all the more so as the Quick-Step team tried all it could in the finale. This was the best possible preparation for the Amstel Gold Race, both for me and the entire team."

Colbrelli was instrumental in springing the decisive move, jumping clear just as the bunch was closing down on the day’s main breakaway. With teammate Grega Bole in the escape, along with the likes of Benoot, Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) and Christopher Juul-Jensen (Orica-Scott), the move quickly opened up a gap as the peloton reabsorbed riders form the early breakaway.

Although their advantage never stretched out too much more than 30 seconds, and with several teams in the peloton hoping to close things down before the finish, the escape stubbornly hung on out front, with Colbrelli exhorting his fellow escapees to push on at every opportunity.

Vakoc and Lotto Soudal’s Tim Wellens came across in the run-in to the uphill finish, but Colbrelli was not to be denied, easily winning the sprint to the line.

"We had two guys in the front group, so we just kept an eye on them and controlled the others in case they would try an attack in order to close the gap," Vakoc said. "When Tim went, I followed immediately and we joined the leaders inside the final kilometers. I tried to surprise the group with an attack but couldn't drop them. Then Dries [Devenyns] did a perfect job leading me out and I was confident in my sprint, but unfortunately there was a stronger rider than me today.

"I won't hide that I'm a bit disappointed, because Brabantse Pijl is my favourite race of the year and I really wanted the victory," Vakoc said. "But at the same time, this give me even more motivation for Amstel Gold Race."

How it unfolded

The breakaway wasted little time animating the 197km Belgian 1.HC race from Leuven to Overijse, with a group of six going clear in the early kilometres to face the many Ardennes climbs dotted along the course.

The six were Jacques Van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport), Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani CSF), Zak Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy), Christophe Prémont (Vérandas Willems-Crelan) and Christophe Masson (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect).

The group lost Prémont on the first hills of the day, but after just 27km of racing, the five remaining escapees extended their lead to 6:45 over a peloton recovering from a fast opening salvo. Quick-Step Floors and Team Sunweb took up the chasing duties and brought the gap down to 5:50 as the leaders’ advantage continued to slowly come back down.

With 90km remaining, the breakaway’s advantage was down to just 2:42, and the leaders’ effort suffered another blow when Dempster dropped his chain on a cobbled climb and was unable to regain contact.

Van Rensburg, Blythe, Rota and Masson continued on, but their gap was down to less than a minute with 65km to go as they started the first of three 23km finishing circuits that featured five climbs – Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and Schavei – on each lap.

With the quartet up front leading by just a handful of seconds, the Colbrelli-led counter-attack of about a dozen riders formed a chase, closing in on the breakaway as they approached the start of the penultimate lap.

The chase group quickly caught and dispatched the early breakaway riders, with the new lead group including Bole, Benoot, Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors), Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Stijn Devolder (Vérandas Willems-Crelan), among others.

The punchy cobbled climbs on the closing circuit quickly whittled that group down to eight, and they carried just 18 seconds into the final lap. Direct Energie took up the chasing duties, eventually handing off to Cannondale-Drapac, but the leaders’ advantage jumped to 28 seconds with 8.5km to go.

The leaders carried less than 10 seconds into the final climb at 2km, and whether the winner would come from the escape or the chase remained unclear, although the breakaway got a boost when Vakoc bridged up with Wellens and immediately went to the front to add some horsepower.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida4:44:22 
2Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors  
3Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
4Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
5Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
6Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-Scott  
7Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
8Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
9Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:00:06 
10Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
11Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb0:00:12 
12Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
13Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie  
14Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
15Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
16Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:16 
17Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
18Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
19Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
20Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
21Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport  
22Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
23Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
24Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
25Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
26Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
27Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott  
28Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
29Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data  
30Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
31Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
32Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
33Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
34Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
35Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
36Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
37Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
38Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
39Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
40Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
41Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
42Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
43Bernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana Postobon  
44Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:24 
45Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team0:00:27 
46Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
47Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
48Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
49Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott0:00:31 
50Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:00:41 
51Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
52Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott  
53Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:00:46 
54Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
55Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
56Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
57Gregory Habeaux (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
58Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
59Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
60Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
61Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott  
62Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport  
63Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:04 
64Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:01:07 
65Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:35 
66Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:46 
67Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data0:01:52 
68Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:02:18 
69Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:02:29 
70Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Srandi Polkowice  
71Gaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:02:56 
72Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:02:59 
73Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:03:23 
74Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac0:04:45 
75Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
76Jakub Kaczmarek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
77Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
78Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
79Tim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
80Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
81Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:05:19 
82Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie0:06:51 
83Benjamin Perry (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:07:08 
84Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
85José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
86Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
87Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
88Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
89Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
90Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
91Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
92David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
93Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb  
94Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
95Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
96Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
97Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb  
98Meiyin Wang (Chn) Bahrain-Merida  
99Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
100Antoine Warnier (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
101Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Dimension Data  
102Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
103Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
104Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb  
105Sergey Nikolaev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
106Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
107Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
108Fernando Orjuela (Col) Manzana Postobon  
109Juan Pablo Villegas (Col) Manzana Postobon  
110Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
111Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
112Rob Power (Aus) Orica-Scott  
113Steven Lammertink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
114Javier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
115Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data  
116Jhojan Garcia (Col) Manzana Postobon0:07:51 
117Christophe Masson (Fra) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
118Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
119Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:08:11 
120Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
121Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors  
122Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data  
123Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
124Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
125Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale-Drapac0:08:15 
126Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:09:45 
127Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:12:29 
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFJustin Jules (Fra) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFLukas Spengler (Swi) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFYecid Arturo Sierra (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFMartijn Tusveld (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFDimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFJuan Jose Amador (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFRomain Guillemois (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFTyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFArnold Jeannesson (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFPierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFAndrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFMihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFDries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFFabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFYoucef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension Data  
DNFBen O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFSimon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFChris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Orica-Scott  
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFMatthew Brammeier (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFAndrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFMartyne Irvine (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFMarco Maronese (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFVincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFMirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFLorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFPaolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFJetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon  
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFEtienne Van Empel (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFFabio Calabria (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFGerd De Keijzer (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFHendrikus Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-Scott  
DNFChristophe Prémont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFHamish Schreurs (NZl) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFStef Van Zummeren (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFMartin Velits (Svk) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFDavid Per (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFManuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFWilliam Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFBrian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFRomain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNSWesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  


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