Wellens wins Brabantse Pijl

Colbrelli second, Benoot third

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) capped off an excellent performance from his team to win De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne on Wednesday.

The Belgian attacked with just over 7.5km to go and held off the remnants of the peloton to win alone and ahead of last year’s winner Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal).

As Wellens crossed the line he pointed one finger to the sky in memory of Michael Goolaerts, who tragically died at Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. A minute's silence was observed at the start of the race in Leuven, with all of Goolaets' teammates in attendance.

Lotto Soudal had been active throughout the second half of the race, and turned on the heat inside of the final 80 kilometres. First veteran rider Maxime Monfort laid down a rapid pace in order to bring back the early break, before Tosh Van der Sande linked up with Mitchelton-Scott's Jack Haig to create a dangerous move.

The pair remained out front until 12 kilometres remaining, with Jelle Vanendert picked up the baton for Lotto Soudal. The Belgian's acceleration helped forge the winning break, with Wellens attacking on a flat-stretch of road. Bahrain Merida tried to catch the Ruta del Sol winner but the 26-year-old's time trial skills flourished in their element as he quickly built up a 20-second lead.

The remaining riders from the break were caught on the final climb but Wellens remained clear and had plenty of time to compose himself before his muted, and respectful victory salute.

"There are four chances [in the Ardennes] and today was the first of the four, so I'm happy to win here. It's not the same level as the others, but it's a race in Belgium, it's very important for our team, and it's never easy to win, so I'm very happy," Wellens said at the finish.

"It was for Michael," he said with regard to his victory salute.

"I didn't want to celebrate, because everyone is thinking about him. I didn't know him personally, but it's very bad what happened."

Colbrelli crossed the line in second, narrowly edging out Benoot.

How it unfolded

Three days after Paris-Roubaix, the professional peloton gathered in Leuven for the 2018 edition of De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne. The mood was sombre and still with the Veranda's Willems Crelan team leading the peloton in a minute of silence in memory of Michael Goolaerts, who had sadly died last weekend.

The Belgian team announced that they would race after consulting Goolaert's family. The jersey was present when the early break moved clear with Dries De Bondt (Veranda's Willems Crelan), joined by Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport), Tyler Williams (Israel Cycling Academy), Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Elmar Reinders (Roompot), Antoine Warnier (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic), and Andrea Peron (Novo Nordisk).

The break enjoyed an advantage of over eight minutes before the bunch began to lead a chase, and with 80km remaining the gap had been reduced to just under three minutes.

Ahead of the peloton were three 23-kilometre laps with five climbs - Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijskelderlaan, and Schavei – crammed into the parcours.

On the final climb of the first lap, Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) accelerated from the peloton, before catching and passing the early break. Several riders attempted to make the juncture but the leading pair established a 30-second lead and held the majority of that advantage until the final circuit.

On the final charge up the Holstheide, and with van der Sande and Haig back in the bunch, Monfort raised the pace. This laid the groundwork for Vanendert and a group to move clear.

Wellens, who had been in the bunch for most of the race, was in the group, and with 7.8km to go the Belgian accelerated. There was a moment of hesitation, and despite a late chase, Wellens had more than enough of a lead to take the win.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal4:42:48 
2Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:00:09 
3Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
4Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
5Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
6Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
7Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
8Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:00:12 
9Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:00:14 
10Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott  
11Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo  
12Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
13Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data  
14Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott  
15Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
16Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
17Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
18Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida  
19Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:00:19 
20Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
21Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
22Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
23Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:23 
24Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport  
25Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:29 
26Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy  
27Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
28Scott Davies (GBr) Dimension Data  
29Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:36 
30Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
31Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo  
32Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
33Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:00:47 
34Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:00:51 
35Mathias De Witte (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
36Kevin Reza (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
37Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
38Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
39Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
40Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:55 
41Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:01:15 
42Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij0:01:17 
43Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida0:01:18 
44Patrick Müller (Swi) Vital Concept Club  
45Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
46Julien Mortier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
47Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
48Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
49Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
50Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport  
51Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
52Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
53Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
54Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data  
55Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
56Edward Dunbar (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport0:01:25 
57Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott  
58Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
59Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:01:37 
60Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:01:49 
61Dorian Godon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:00 
62Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:02:01 
63Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
64Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic0:02:05 
65Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Floors0:02:26 
66Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:35 
67Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:02:40 
68Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Quick-Step Floors  
69Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy  
70Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team  
71Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
72Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors  
73Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic0:03:17 
74Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:03:28 
75Zico Waeytens (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:03:44 
76Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:04:22 
77Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:04:35 
78Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
79Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
80Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:06:26 
81Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
82Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport0:07:57 
83Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
84Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
85Arjen Livyns (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
86Tyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy  
87August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy  
88Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
89Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk0:09:18 
90Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data  
91Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport  
92Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
93Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:16:12 
94Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:17:15 
95Daan Olivier (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:17:44 
96Marino Kobayashi (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
97Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk  
98Christophe Masson (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
99Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
100David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFOdd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFReid McClure (Can) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFHendrikus van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFSean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFBrian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFRein Taaramäe (Est) Direct Energie  
DNFYoann Bagot (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFTanguy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFKilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFLudovic Robeet (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFAntoine Warnier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFJustin Mottier (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFJeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFImerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFEduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini  
DNFRobbert de Greef (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFFabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFEdward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFFranck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFStéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDennis van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic  
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFMark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNSRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida  

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