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Wellens: My Brabantse Pijl sprint wasn't a conscious move

OVERIJSE BELGIUM APRIL 13 Tim Wellens of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal competes in the breakaway during the 62nd De Brabantse Pijl La Flche Brabanonne 2022 Mens Elite a 2051km one day race from Leuven to Overijse BP22 on April 13 2022 in Overijse Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on the attack late on during Brabantse Pijl (Image credit: Luc ClaessenGetty Images)

Tim Wellens may have crossed the line at Brabantse Pijl in third place, but the results sheet after the finish showed the Belgian down in ninth, relegated for deviating from his line in the closing sprint.

At the end of 205 kilometres of racing in the Flemish Brabant, the Lotto Soudal leader was among the men competing for a podium place behind solo winner Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers). 

Wellens led the way into the final 200 metres, but the Belgian was sprinting across the road, moving across to the left-hand side and forcing an accelerating  Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) toward the barriers and onto the brakes. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team) still managed to slip by, with the Frenchman taking second ahead of Wellens.

The QuickStep-AlphaVinyl leader vigorously protested the move during the closing metres of Brabantse Pijl and Wellens was quickly demoted after the finish, with Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) inheriting his third place. Speaking after the race, though, Wellens said that he didn't feel he was in the wrong.

"In the sprint we were riding not too fast," he said. "I started my sprint, I went to the left, and apparently it was a little bit too brisk to the left so a bit of a pity. It wasn't a conscious move. It's never nice but I'll remember my strong race of today.

"For me, it was still within the limit, but I haven't seen the images. It's also a different sprint when you start from 20kph instead of 60. So of course, if you ride a full sprint at 60kph you don't do a move like this. I think if you start at slow speeds, it's in the limit."

Despite the ending to the race, Wellens said he was still pleased with how the previous 205 kilometres went. He had made the elite lead group when Ineos Grenadiers' rider Ben Turner instigated the decisive move with 51km to go.

He, though, like the remainder of the lead group, had no teammates and was up against three Ineos riders, with Tom Pidcock also making the move. The odds were always going to be against Wellens and the rest of the solo riders.

"I'm happy with my race," Wellens said. "We knew it was going to be an offensive race with the parcours and with the cobbles. So I think in the second lap we succeed to ride away with seven or eight guys and then we come to the finish for the second place.

"I knew that in the final, Ineos was the team to beat. [It's] one thing is to be with three in the final, but you also need to have the legs to stay in front. Congrats to the winner. He was one of the strongest riders in the group."

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Daniel Ostanek
Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.