Wellens wins Brabantse Pijl

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

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal4:42:48
2Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:00:09
3Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 2 - Cell 2
4Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 3 - Cell 2
5Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 4 - Cell 2
6Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 5 - Cell 2
7Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:00:12
9Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:00:14
10Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 9 - Cell 2
11Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-JumboRow 10 - Cell 2
12Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 11 - Cell 2
13Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 12 - Cell 2
14Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 13 - Cell 2
15Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 14 - Cell 2
16Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 15 - Cell 2
17Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 16 - Cell 2
18Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-MeridaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:00:19
20Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 19 - Cell 2
21Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 20 - Cell 2
22Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 21 - Cell 2
23Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:23
24Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue SportRow 23 - Cell 2
25Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:29
26Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 25 - Cell 2
27Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa OviniRow 26 - Cell 2
28Scott Davies (GBr) Dimension DataRow 27 - Cell 2
29Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:36
30Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 29 - Cell 2
31Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-JumboRow 30 - Cell 2
32Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:00:47
34Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:00:51
35Mathias De Witte (Bel) Veranda's Willems CrelanRow 34 - Cell 2
36Kevin Reza (Fra) Vital Concept ClubRow 35 - Cell 2
37Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 36 - Cell 2
38Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 37 - Cell 2
39Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 38 - Cell 2
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 ClubRow 43 - Cell 2
45Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 44 - Cell 2
46Julien Mortier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 45 - Cell 2
47Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 46 - Cell 2
48Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 47 - Cell 2
49Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 48 - Cell 2
50Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue SportRow 49 - Cell 2
51Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 50 - Cell 2
52Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 51 - Cell 2
53Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa OviniRow 52 - Cell 2
54Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension DataRow 53 - Cell 2
55Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 54 - Cell 2
56Edward Dunbar (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport0:01:25
57Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-ScottRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 57 - Cell 2
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 SoudalRow 62 - Cell 2
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 FloorsRow 67 - Cell 2
69Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 68 - Cell 2
70Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step FloorsRow 71 - Cell 2
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 SoudalRow 77 - Cell 2
79Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 78 - Cell 2
80Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:06:26
81Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 80 - Cell 2
82Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport0:07:57
83Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 82 - Cell 2
84Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Arjen Livyns (Bel) Veranda's Willems CrelanRow 84 - Cell 2
86Tyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 85 - Cell 2
87August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 86 - Cell 2
88Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 87 - Cell 2
89Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk0:09:18
90Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension DataRow 89 - Cell 2
91Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 90 - Cell 2
92Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 91 - Cell 2
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 OviniRow 95 - Cell 2
97Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo NordiskRow 96 - Cell 2
98Christophe Masson (Fra) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 97 - Cell 2
99Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo NordiskRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFOdd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFReid McClure (Can) Team Novo NordiskRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFHendrikus van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Team Novo NordiskRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFSean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems CrelanRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems CrelanRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFBrian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo NordiskRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFRein Taaramäe (Est) Direct EnergieRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFYoann Bagot (Fra) Vital Concept ClubRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension DataRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFTanguy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept ClubRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFKilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFLudovic Robeet (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFAntoine Warnier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Mitchelton-ScottRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFJustin Mottier (Fra) Vital Concept ClubRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFJeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFImerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa OviniRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Aqua Blue SportRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFEduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa OviniRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa OviniRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFRobbert de Greef (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo NordiskRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) LottoNL-JumboRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFFabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFPascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-JumboRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFEdward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFFranck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFStéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 138 - Cell 2
DNFDennis van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFMark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 142 - Cell 2
DNSRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-MeridaRow 143 - Cell 2

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.

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