Sagan wins De Brabantse Pijl

Returning to racing after his podium result at the Tour of Flanders, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has won De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne in a two-man sprint against world champion and 2011 Brabantse Pijl winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), part of the three-man group which emerged from an 11-rider break on the day's final climb in the closing kilometre, had nothing left to sprint with and crossed the line for third place at four seconds.

The race-winning 11-man break came together midway through the final 23.4km finishing circuit as a six-man lead group containing Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard), Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) was joined by a five-rider chase group comprised of Sagan, Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano).

The finishing circuit's fifth and final climb, the Schavei, inside the last kilometre, would be the launch pad from which Sagan, Gilbert and Leukemans would emerge at the fore to contest the sprint. Van Avermaet and Maes had attacked the lead group prior to the ascent and held a slim advantage as the climb started, but Sagan led the chase and had the strength to launch an attack of his own as he caught and passed both Maes and then Van Avermaet.

Gilbert and Leukemans were able to mark Sagan's surge, but the Slovakian champion had enough left in the tank to dispatch of his rivals in the kick to the finish line in Overijse.

"The final was the most difficult part of the race" said Sagan. "I was in a minority situation compared to Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC, and all the riders left to me the responsibility to stop the attacks. I found a good chance on the last climb. I let it rip to close the gap on Van Avermaet and to leave behind as many riders as possible. It was a big effort.

"In the final straight we were against the wind and Gilbert was just behind me. I thought to do a short sprint but his attack anticipated my plan. At that point I had only to follow him and try to pass: I'm really happy to have done it."

Gilbert kept close tabs on Sagan in the finale and with the benefit of a teammate in Van Avermaet he had assistance in putting Sagan under duress, but Sagan proved too strong, denying Gilbert his first win of the 2013 season.

"I was confident for the sprint because I was already on his wheel the last five kilometres and I was very focused," Gilbert said. "It was so close.

"It is always better to win, but we did a great race and we played our cards in the final. It also gives a lot of confidence to the team and to myself as well. But it's always better to win, for sure."

An early break and animated finishing circuits

Dehaes and Maes were also part of the day's early break, formed at just 46km in. They were away with Ben Hermans (RadioShack Leopard), Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) and Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare). The six-man group reached a maximum advantage in excess of four minutes, but stabilised at approximately 3:30.

The break made it onto the 23.4km finishing circuit, to be negotiated three times, and on the first lap of the circuit Reguigui was the first casualty of the break, dropped and absorbed by the peloton which trailed by just one minute.

With 50km to go Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard) jumped away from the peloton and after a spirited 7km pursuit he made contact with the leaders. While Devolder was chasing solo, three more riders attacked the peloton, Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura), and this trio, too, managed to cross the gap to the break.

On the penultimate finishing circuit, with 41km remaining, 2011 De Brabantse Pijl champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had a rear flat and a slow change, first attempted by a teammate and then completed by a team mechanic. Gilbert didn't have any teammates to assist in his chase back, but the world champion surfed through the caravan and eventually regained contact, just as pre-race favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) experienced his own mechanical difficulties and had to stop for a bike change.

Near the end of the penultimate finishing circuit the break was reduced to just six riders - Maes, Dehaes, Leukemans, Devolder, Voss and Malacarne - as Devolder pushed the pace.

Entering the final 23.4km circuit the six leaders led the peloton by 41 seconds and soon afterwards Team Argos-Shimano came to the front of the field in force with five riders to try to cut into the break's advantage. Despite the show of force, the six leaders continued to hold the peloton at approximately 35-40 seconds.

The race's decisive action kicked off on the final ascent of the Hertstraat, the second of five hellingen on the finishing circuit, as Greg Van Avermaet attacked the peloton with teammate Philippe Gilbert in tow. Sensing danger, Peter Sagan immediately marked the escape and the trio were soon joined by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano) to form a five-rider chase group).

With 12km remaining, the five chasers made contact with the six leaders to form an 11-rider front group.

Defending champion Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) attacked and splintered the peloton in an attempt to bridge to the leaders, but with 9km remaining his chase group was absorbed by a re-grouped peloton and trailed the 11 leaders by 25 seconds. The deficit to the 11 leaders would steadily inch up in the closing kilometres and it became clear that the 2013 De Brabantse Pijl champion would come from that group.

Two kilometres from the finish Van Avermaet and Maes jumped away from the lead group and held a slim advantage onto the circuit's final climb, the Schavei, with Sagan leading the chase.

Van Avermaet dropped Maes on the climb, but Sagan continued his charge, passing first Maes and then Van Avermaet in the push to the finish line. Gilbert and Leukemans were the only riders to respond and soon after making contact Gilbert led out the sprint. Leukemans had nothing left and didn't respond, while Sagan came around Gilbert in the closing metres to add De Brabantse Pijl to his ever-increasing palmares.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling4:45:05
2Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:04
4Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:09
5Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:11
7Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar0:00:17
8Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:00:19
9Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:00:22
10Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:25
11Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:28
12Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:54
13Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard0:00:57
14Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 13 - Cell 2
15Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 15 - Cell 2
17Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 17 - Cell 2
19Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 18 - Cell 2
20Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 19 - Cell 2
21Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 20 - Cell 2
22Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 21 - Cell 2
23Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 22 - Cell 2
24Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 23 - Cell 2
25Francois Parisien (Can) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 24 - Cell 2
26Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 25 - Cell 2
27Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 26 - Cell 2
28Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 27 - Cell 2
29Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team0:01:03
30Kévin Reza (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 29 - Cell 2
31Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 30 - Cell 2
32Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 32 - Cell 2
34Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:01:06
35Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 35 - Cell 2
37Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 36 - Cell 2
38Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 37 - Cell 2
39Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-EuphonyRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 39 - Cell 2
41Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 40 - Cell 2
42Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 41 - Cell 2
43Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) KatushaRow 43 - Cell 2
45Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Simon Spilak (Slo) KatushaRow 45 - Cell 2
47Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:14
49Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:16
50Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 49 - Cell 2
51Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 52 - Cell 2
54Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 53 - Cell 2
55Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack LeopardRow 55 - Cell 2
57Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-QhubekaRow 56 - Cell 2
58Benjamin King (USA) RadioShack LeopardRow 57 - Cell 2
59Fabio Taborre (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:01:31
60Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:02:17
61Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 60 - Cell 2
62Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:29
63Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 62 - Cell 2
64Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling0:04:22
65Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 64 - Cell 2
66Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka0:05:06
67Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:05:09
68Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:05:18
69Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Sergey Klimov (Rus) RusVelo0:05:26
73Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 72 - Cell 2
74Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Champion System Pro Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 75 - Cell 2
77Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 76 - Cell 2
78Arthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 77 - Cell 2
79Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 78 - Cell 2
80Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVeloRow 79 - Cell 2
81Sergei Chernetski (Rus) KatushaRow 80 - Cell 2
82Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM CyclingRow 81 - Cell 2
83Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 82 - Cell 2
84Will Routley (Can) Accent Jobs-WantyRow 83 - Cell 2
85Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Alexander Rybakov (Rus) RusVeloRow 85 - Cell 2
87Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 87 - Cell 2
89Stefano Borchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 88 - Cell 2
90Pavel Brutt (Rus) KatushaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 90 - Cell 2
92Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 91 - Cell 2
93Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling0:08:13
94Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 93 - Cell 2
95Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 94 - Cell 2
96Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-SharpRow 95 - Cell 2
97Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 96 - Cell 2
98Stefano Agostini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 97 - Cell 2
99Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 98 - Cell 2
100Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 99 - Cell 2
101Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 100 - Cell 2
102Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 101 - Cell 2
103Chad Beyer (USA) Champion System Pro Cycling TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 103 - Cell 2
105Christophe Prémont (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 104 - Cell 2
106Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack LeopardRow 105 - Cell 2
107Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 106 - Cell 2
108Jonathan Mcevoy (GBr) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 107 - Cell 2
109Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-WantyRow 108 - Cell 2
110Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVeloRow 109 - Cell 2
111Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 110 - Cell 2
112Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:08:29
113Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:11:49
114Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 113 - Cell 2
115Ryan Roth (Can) Champion System Pro Cycling TeamRow 114 - Cell 2

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1