De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne 2012

April 11, 2012, Leuven, BEL, Road - 1.HC

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Benson

Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from De Brabantse Pijl

  1. 13:29:14 CEST

    Welcme to the Brabantse Pijl! Will Philipppe Gilbert break out of his slump and repeat his win from last year?

  2. 13:35:33 CEST

    179 riders were at the start today.  NetApp's Daniel Schorn was the first to try to get away – no luck for him, though. 

  3. 13:35:54 CEST

    Schorn didn't want to give up and took off again, to be joined by Maxim Belkov and Artem Ovetsjkin. They now have 30 seconds on the field.

  4. 13:39:05 CEST

    So here is our situtation (sorry,don't know the kms): 

    Daniel Schorn (NetApp), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo) now have one minute on the peloton.

  5. 13:41:06 CEST

    Two riders dropped out at the 30km mark:  Stefano Agostini (Liguigas) and Victor Manakov (Rusvelo) took an early out today.

  6. 13:45:58 CEST

    23 teams are in this race:  10 WorldTour and 13 ProConti.  They are:  BMC, Katusha, Liquigas-Cannondale, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Rabobank, Garmin-Barracuda, RadioShack-Nissan, Saxo Bank and Vacansoleil-DCM for the top teams. The other 13 are Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda's, Andalucia, Champion Systems, Colombia-Coldeportes, Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Landbouwkrediet-Euphony, Argo-Shimano, RusVelo, Europcar, NetApp, Spidertech, Topsport Vlaanderen and UnitedHealthcare.

  7. 149.9km remaining from 194.9km

    13:50:03 CEST

    After 45 km, the gap is 3:45.

  8. 13:56:40 CEST

    We have 195.7 km to go today. The first part of the race is 132km with 8 climbs bfore the field starts in on five laps of a 12.8km circuit course.  Each lap contains 4 “hellinge”. This will be fun!

  9. 146km remaining from 194.9km

    13:58:05 CEST

    The leading trio has now added another minute to their lead, giving them 4:45.

  10. 14:03:51 CEST

    Last year's winner Philippe Gilbert is here today and boy, would he like to win. Things have just not gone his way this year so far. He will be supported by only six teammates today, as they are one short. And if he isn't up to the task, no doubt Greg Van Avermaet would be happy to give it a go.

  11. 14:08:01 CEST

    Andy Schleck is here today, too, and no doubt will be under close scrutiny.

  12. 14:12:33 CEST

    BMC and Rabobank have finally decided to start leading the chase of Daniel Schorn (NetApp), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo).

  13. 14:16:52 CEST

    Some media outlets are playing this up as a duel between Gilbert and Schleck – rather is if it will come down to a sprint between the two. Somehow we have our doubts about that.

  14. 14:21:06 CEST

    Lots of big names here, actually. Oscar Freire of Katusha, for instance, and Peter Sagan of Liquigas, who we think probably has a good chance. Omega Pharma-QuickStep is sending a very interesting look squad led by Jerome Pineau, with support from Gerald Ciolek, Iljo Keisse and Martin Velits, amongst others.

  15. 130.9km remaining from 194.9km

    14:24:07 CEST

    The field has finally stopped the gap from increasing, and looks content to leave the leading trio on a long rein. The gap is holding steady at 5:08.

  16. 14:28:57 CEST

    Today's weather: partially sunny to overcast, with the chance of “hefty showers” developing in the afternoon. A moderate wind is expected.

  17. 14:36:04 CEST

    BMC is indeed looking to Gilbert and Van Avermaet today, with DS John LeLangue assuring us that "Philippe is also getting better after his problems the past couple of weeks."

  18. 14:40:14 CEST

    Vacansoleil is probably not feeling too optimistic at the moment. First they lost captain Bjorn Leukemans to knee problems, and now both Ligthart and Hoogerland have punctured.

  19. 14:45:56 CEST

    Speaking of Leukemans, the bad news is that he will miss the Ardennes Classics because of knee problems. The good news is that he will not require surgery.

  20. 14:50:56 CEST

    Rabobank has sent its big guns: Matti Breschel, Michael Matthews, Luis Leon Sanchez and Lars Boom. They are prepared for every eventuality.

  21. 80km remaining from 194.9km

    14:54:27 CEST

    The third climb of the day, the Alsemberg, at km 78.4, has torn apart the peloton.  Right now the three leaders are nearly at the next climb, the Bruinepot, with a gap of about 4:30 over the first chasing group.

  22. 14:57:42 CEST

    Sebastian Rosseler , who won here in 2010, is leading Garmin-Barracuda, but keep an eye on Thomas Dekker, who last week won a stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

  23. 15:02:03 CEST

    Team Europcar has got its big guns out today too: Thomas Voeckler, and Sebastian Turgot, who took second in a photo finish Sunday in Roubaix.

  24. 15:06:22 CEST

    Apparently a number of riders are suffering from the high pace and the nasty "hellinge".  Don't expect to see everyone finish the race today.

  25. 15:12:31 CEST

    What did the cobbled Classics look like? What images will we carry away with us? Cyclingnews has posted a few of the most important photos of these races -- take a look.

  26. 15:16:05 CEST

    This race was first held in 1961 and was won by Pino Cerami. The rider with the most wins in Edwig Van Hooydonck, with four.

  27. 15:24:54 CEST

    Speaking of the cobbled classics, Dan Benson attended all of them and came up with a list of ten conclusions about them. Read it here.

  28. 82km remaining from 194.9km

    15:26:06 CEST

    Only 3:19 left now for Daniel Schorn (NetApp), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo).  And it looks very wet.

  29. 15:28:43 CEST

    As we said, Philippe Gilbert, who won in 2011, is here, as is 2010 winner Sebastian Rosseler. But did you know that Oscar Freire has won here three times? From 2005 to 2007.


  30. 15:29:32 CEST

    Hoogerland punctures again.

  31. 77km remaining from 194.9km

    15:30:36 CEST

    The gap continue to fall, now at 2:52.

  32. 15:32:05 CEST

    Schorn wipes the rain of his face and no doubt wishes he had gogten into an escape group on a day with better weather.

  33. 15:33:51 CEST

    BMC and Rabobank continue to lead the chase, as they go up yet another short but steep climb.

  34. 15:36:23 CEST

    More bad luck for Vacansoliel.  Hoogerland has had to leave the race due to illness.

  35. 15:37:31 CEST

    Hm, think I forgot to mention that is Susan on live report duty again today.....

  36. 15:39:55 CEST

    Tom Boonen was thinking about whether to ride Amstel Gold Race. But apparently he has decided that enough is enough -- he won't do it.

  37. 71km remaining from 194.9km

    15:41:09 CEST

    Less than two and half minutes now. But the good news is that the sun has come out! For the moment, at any rate.

  38. 15:41:36 CEST

    A handful of riders have gone down in a crash, including, we hear, Andy Schleck.

  39. 15:45:21 CEST

    Juan Jose Haedo of Saxo Bank was also involved in that crash.  Both he and Schleck are on their way back to the peloton.

  40. 15:47:46 CEST

    Schlek is still on his way, but has quite a ways to go to catch up again.

  41. 15:50:28 CEST

    Jerome Pineau and Schleck have now joined forces to work their way up through all the cars.

  42. 15:51:18 CEST

    BMC and Rabobank are still at the head of the race. Hopefully they will still have something left by the end of the day.

  43. 15:51:42 CEST

    The peloton is now in sight again for Schleck.

  44. 61km remaining from 194.9km

    15:52:53 CEST

    Schorn leads his two escape-mates up the next climb, as the gap falls to 2:01.

  45. 15:55:52 CEST

    Schleck is still tailing off the back end of the field.

  46. 57km remaining from 194.9km

    15:59:07 CEST

    Ovechkin can no longer hold the tempo and falls back from his two break companions. The gap is now only 1:52

  47. 15:59:50 CEST

    Oh look, cobbles!  On a climb!  What fun!

  48. 16:00:45 CEST

    For the first time we see some Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders near the front.

    LL Sanchez has either crashed or punctured.  A teammate gives up his bike for his captain.

  49. 16:01:37 CEST

    And a team car comes close to wiping out Sanchez as he works his way up....

  50. 16:02:50 CEST

    Gerald Ciolek of OPQS is at the front now, with Phiippe Gilbert close behind him. Will the BMC rider finally show something today?

  51. 16:03:53 CEST

    OPQS looks like they are taking command of this race, too.  They have just led the field in catching Ovechkin.

  52. 16:04:58 CEST

    Poor Vacansoleil. Thomas De Gendt has fallen out of the field with a mechanical problem.

  53. 16:05:47 CEST

    Pineau of OPQS has established a slight lead over the field.  Slight, but defnitely a lead.

  54. 16:06:46 CEST

    And down he goes!  Slps away on a wet curve. Ouch!

  55. 52km remaining from 194.9km

    16:08:09 CEST

    Our two leaders, Daniel Schorn (NetApp) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha) bump up the cobbles on teh next climb, with a gap of 1:34.

  56. 16:08:41 CEST

    And now Schorn appears to be pulling away from Belkov.

  57. 16:09:14 CEST

    A series of attacks out of the field see seeral small groups giving chase.

  58. 16:09:54 CEST

    Schorn crosses the finish line for the first time, and sets off on the incredibly hilly circuit course.

  59. 16:11:09 CEST

    The first chasers cross the line at 1:30 back, with the rest of the field about 10 seconds behind them.

  60. 16:12:20 CEST

    Schorn still solo in the lead.  Does he want to imitate his teammate Jan Barta, who on Monday won Rund um Köln in a solo flight on a closign circuit course?

  61. 16:14:01 CEST

    Four riders have split off and are giving chase.  One is Mathews of Rabobank and we will try to get the other names.

    Phil Gilbert leads the chase after them.

  62. 16:14:43 CEST

    Looks like that group of four has been caught.

  63. 16:15:09 CEST

    Schorn is hanging doggedly on to his 1:27 lead.

  64. 16:15:41 CEST

    Two more riders five it a go, but of course everyone else wants to come along as well.

  65. 16:16:51 CEST

    A group of five with a minimal lead. The peloton is breaking up again.

  66. 16:17:25 CEST

    I am going to hand things over to Sue for a while now -- give my fingers a break.

  67. 45km remaining from 194.9km

    16:19:41 CEST

    Just to recap, we've got 45km to go. Daniel Schorn is still off the front solo with a gap of about 1:24.  Various riders have been trying to form small groups off the front of the peloton to chase him.

  68. 16:22:17 CEST

    Schorn's gap is holding fairly steady for the time being.  Looks like the riders are dealing with wet roads, but it's not raining at least.  We haven't heard yet whether former breakaway rider Maxim Belkov has been caught.

  69. 16:24:05 CEST

    The main chase group that has formed is a small group of about a half doze riders.   They are at 1:16 behind leader Schorn.  However, the peloton is not much further behind them - almost t in contact.

  70. 16:26:31 CEST

    With 40km to go, the main chase group is four riders, with another just dangling off the back of them and in front of the peloton.  Schorn's advantage is 1:11.  The chasers aren't particularly well organized thus far, but there is still plenty of time to chase down Schorn.

  71. 16:27:56 CEST

    Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep) has decided to take a well deserved break and skip Amstel Gold.

  72. 16:29:16 CEST

    Racers are on a 200m cobbled section called the Heuvelstraat.  Those cobbles must be super slippery today as the roads are still obviously wet.

  73. 37km remaining from 194.9km

    16:31:03 CEST

    The peloton rolls through the finish line and heads out for more. 37km to go.

  74. 16:32:31 CEST

    Back in the main group, Peter Sagan has a snack.  As we get closer to the finish, there will be fewer opportunities to refuel.

  75. 16:34:21 CEST

    Susan back, thanks, Sue.

  76. 35km remaining from 194.9km

    16:36:05 CEST

    Liquigas continues to drive the field, as Schorn has a 1:07 lead. Belkov is now on the verge of being caught by the field.

  77. 16:37:12 CEST

    Schorn has his head down.  Tired or conserving energy?

  78. 16:37:49 CEST

    Another cobbled climb for Schorn, with 32 km to go.

  79. 16:39:13 CEST

    And now the field goes up those cobblestones.

  80. 16:39:41 CEST

    Attack!  Thomas Voeckler of Europcar takes off from the peloton.

  81. 16:40:16 CEST

    A handful of riders take off after the Frenchman.

  82. 16:41:23 CEST

    Voeckler's attach has once again split the field.

  83. 16:42:31 CEST

    Voeckler is still away, with  small groups of riders giving chase.  And Schorn is still up front.

  84. 16:43:24 CEST

    A Lotto Belisol rider is next behind Voeckler. Haven't seen much of them lately.

  85. 16:45:23 CEST

    Schorn is still hanging in there, but it won't be long now.

  86. 16:46:24 CEST

    Peter Sagan hits the ground, and leaves portions of skin and clothing. He seems to be basically ok, but is not hurrying to get back into the race.

  87. 16:46:53 CEST

    Sagan was one of the favourites for today -- but no longer.

  88. 27km remaining from 194.9km

    16:47:33 CEST

    Voeckler has now caught Schorn on the Heuvelstraat, 200m of bumps.

    Let's make that caught and passed.

  89. 16:49:05 CEST

    We still have a group of seven or eight riders in chase, but they are now at Schorn, and 21 seconds behind Voeckler.

  90. 16:49:49 CEST

    Voeckler crosses the finish line and now has two laps to go.

  91. 16:50:27 CEST

    The chase group is at 23 seconds, with the next group at 48 seconds. Still too early to count any of them out.

  92. 16:52:10 CEST

    Oscar Freire of Katusha is one of those in the chase group.

  93. 16:52:53 CEST

    The chase group is doing a lot of looking at one another, instead of actually doing anything....

  94. 16:53:29 CEST

    Van Aermaet is in there, too.  We are gathering the names for you.

  95. 16:55:39 CEST

    And here is the list: Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), Dries Devenyns (OPQS), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Oscar Freire (Katusha), Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), Alex Howes (Garmin-Barracuda), Daniel Schorn (NetApp) and Pieter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen)

  96. 21km remaining from 194.9km

    16:56:53 CEST

    That group is 42 seconds behind Voeckler, with the next group at 1:16.

  97. 16:57:21 CEST

    Freire takes a turn in the lead.

  98. 16:58:46 CEST

    Schorn falls back out of the group -- he has put in a lot of effort today.

  99. 16:59:44 CEST

    Voeckler builds his lead up, bit by bit. Now at 48 seconds.

  100. 17:00:33 CEST

    It is not raining now, but the roads are still wet, and we see a number of puddles.

  101. 17:00:54 CEST

    Voeckler jumps up on the bike path for a change of scenery.

  102. 17:01:59 CEST

    Ten Dam leads the chasers up the gutter next to the cobblestones.

  103. 16km remaining from 194.9km

    17:04:36 CEST

    Voeckler has pulled out to nearly a minute lead now.

    He still needs to be careul on those corners, though.  Yikes!

  104. 17:06:35 CEST

    Voekler is spending great quantities of time up out of the seat.

  105. 17:07:24 CEST

    Well, the expert panel behind the scenes here has decided that Voeckler has got this thing wrapped up. As long as he is careful and doesn't crash!

  106. 17:08:27 CEST

    Voeckler hits the finish line for the next-to-last time.  13km to go for him.

  107. 17:09:40 CEST

    Here comes the chase group over the finish line, now at 1:10.  Yup, race over, we would say.

  108. 17:10:15 CEST

    Lots of little groups now. Gilbert in a group at about 1:30 down.

  109. 17:11:31 CEST

    Voeckler as always up out of the saddle, bobbing around on the climb.

  110. 17:14:18 CEST

    And it looks to be raining again.  Now. 1:24 for the chase group, with 9km  to go.

  111. 17:14:33 CEST

    Eek! Not just rain, but hail, too!

  112. 17:17:16 CEST

    Ooh, the hail is really coming down now. Ouch!

  113. 17:17:44 CEST

    Is this in Voeckler's honour? You know, like, "Hail, the conquering hero comes..."

  114. 17:18:05 CEST

    Extremely unpleasant weather conditions at the moment.

  115. 17:18:50 CEST

     Must be really fun to ride uphill on cobbles in this crap weather!

  116. 17:19:27 CEST

    The gap to the first group is 1:27, with the next group over 2 minutes down.

  117. 17:20:23 CEST

    Only 5km to go!

  118. 17:21:42 CEST

    For a change, Voeckler is sitting on his saddle. There, we knew that wouldn't last. Up he goes again.

  119. 17:23:19 CEST

    Duarte of Colombia-Coldeportes jumps in hope of making his mark.

  120. 17:24:11 CEST

    He had bridged up the Freire group, and has now taken off out of it.

  121. 17:25:19 CEST

    The rest of the Freire group has given up hope. They really aren't working together.

  122. 17:25:45 CEST

    Only two more km of thies lovely weather for Voeckler.

  123. 17:26:17 CEST

    He is up on the sidewalk as he crosses under the last km marker.

  124. 17:27:08 CEST

    He looks bac again to reassure himself no one is coming, shake hands with his DS in the team car and continues happily on his way.

  125. 17:28:20 CEST

    Voeckler cruises on in to his first win of the 2012 season. And it looks like the precipitation has stopped!

  126. 17:28:34 CEST

    He throws kisses and raises his hands in celebration.

  127. 17:28:52 CEST

    Duarte still has a slight lead.  Devenyns gives chase.

  128. 17:29:22 CEST

    Freire moves up and opens the sprint for second place.

  129. 17:30:43 CEST

    Who would have a chance against the speedy Spaniard?  He takes second.  We are waiting for confirmation on third.

  130. 17:31:01 CEST

    The rest of the peloton dribbles over the finish line.

  131. 17:32:09 CEST

    The winner gets a kiss from his little son, also in Europcar kit.

  132. 17:32:44 CEST

    Third was Pieter Serry of Topsport-Vlaanderen.

  133. 17:34:21 CEST

    And here is the top ten for the 2012 Brabante Pijl:

    1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
    2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
    3 Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
    4 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
    5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 
    6 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
    7 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 
    8 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 
    9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 
    10 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team

  134. 17:34:47 CEST

    Congrautalations to them and to everyone who survived the weather and the race!

  135. 17:35:33 CEST

    Thanks for reading along and be sure to join us again Sunday for Amstel Gold Race!

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