Magnus Sheffield secures solo win at Brabantse Pijl

Magnus Sheffield soloed to victory at De Brabantse Pijl as his Ineos Grenadiers squad made their numbers count in the winning move. The American, still a week shy of 20th birthday, attacked from the seven-man break with 3.5km remaining and he held firm on the final climb into Overijse to claim victory at the end of a breathless, rain-soaked race.

Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) won the sprint for second place, 37 seconds down on Sheffield, while Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) was awarded third place after Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) was relegated to ninth for deviating from his line in the closing metres.

An exasperated Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) crossed the line with a hand raised in protest, while Sheffield’s teammates Ben Turner and Tom Pidcock rolled home with their arms held aloft.

Indeed, it was Turner who created the pivotal selection when he accelerated on the cobbled ascent of Moskesstraat with 50km remaining. When the dust settled over the other side, he had nine riders for company, and it was quickly apparent that this was the race-defining move.

The three laps of the hilly finishing circuit around Overijse became something of a slugging match, with the front group constantly fragmenting and reforming amid attack and counter-attack on the succession of climbs.

Evenepoel was twice dropped on ascents of the cobbled Hertstraat, but he fought his way back on each time, and he remained a constant menace on the flat roads. His aggression was not limited to his volley of attacks, and he escaped with a warning from the commissaires for pushing Turner when they were part of an earlier escape with 70km remaining.

Ineos’ young trio were present at all of the key moments and they combined well in the finale. The defending champion Pidcock, by his own admission, was struggling after his exertions at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, to the extent that Turner was the team’s option in the event of a sprint.

Sheffield, for his part, was pedalling smoothly all afternoon, and he had the nous and the strength to press on when a gap opened behind him on the final approach to the finish. Cosnefroy and Evenepoel each made attempts to bridge across, but their efforts were tightly marked by Turner and Pidcock. Sheffield’s lead grew accordingly, and the 19-year-old dealt comfortably with the final rise into Overijse to claim his second win in Ineos colours.

“I just followed a move with Wellens, and when he swung off, I found myself alone,” Sheffield said. “I knew I wanted to press on and force the other guys to chase, so I could let my teammates sit on. But everybody was just kind of looking at it, because it was in the final kilometres. I just put it in my biggest gear and tried to go full gas to the finish.”

Evenepoel’s onslaught notwithstanding, it was another trying Classics outing for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl. World champion Julian Alaphilippe missed the decisive split and he was later knocked from his bike in a crash that was occurred when his own team car was attempting to pass the peloton and make its way up to the break. The Frenchman initially sat on the ground clutching his shoulder, though he was subsequently able to remount and continue.

How it unfolded

Brabantse Pijl offers a point of confluence for cobbled Classics and Ardennes specialists alike, and that selling point was exacerbated in 2022 by the shift in dates that sees Paris-Roubaix take place next Sunday. The weather conditions, meanwhile, proved rather less amenable than forecast, and the constant rain added considerable difficulty to an already technical course. “The weather forecast did not say rain, it said there was a 15% chance, but instead we had rain all day,” Pidcock said. “It was horrid.”

The early part of the race was animated by a three-man move featuring Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), but they were never granted much leeway and their adventure was effectively doomed when Ben Turner launched a probing move on the first time up the Herstraat with 80km remaining.

Turner’s band of attackers, which included Sheffield, drew the interest of Evenepoel over the other side, and the Belgian cruised across the gap in the company of Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious). The presence of so many dangermen in front doomed that attack, though not before Evenepoel petulantly pushed Turner off Victor Campenaerts’ wheel. Another rider might have faced a heftier sanction than a warning from the race jury.

That counter-attack was brought back soon afterwards, while the last of the early escapees were caught as the race crossed the finish line in Overijse for the first time with 65km to go.

Alaphilippe and UAE Team Emirates were aggressors on the first of three laps of the finishing circuit, but the critical move came on the Moskesstraat with 50km remaining, as Turner’s acceleration split the bunch.

Over the other side, a group of ten took shape, as Turner was joined by Pidcock, Sheffield, Evenepoel, Teuns, Campenaerts, Wellens, Barguil, Cosnefroy and Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Fenix). With only UAE Team Emirates committed to the chase behind, it was soon apparent that this was the winning move, and their advantage quickly stretched out towards a minute.

Those ten riders still led with two laps to go, although they lost a strongman shortly afterwards when Teuns suffered a puncture and then endured a slow change of his disc wheel from the neutral service bike.

With 37km to go, Sheffield forced the pace on the Hertstraat, where Evenepoel was dropped on the cobbles in the company of Barguil and Campenaerts. He led them back on once the road levelled out, but it was a sign of his unease on that specific kind of terrain.

Evenepoel attack soon afterwards on the climb of Holstheide, whittling the group down to seven riders as Campenaerts and Stannard were irretrievably distanced, but he would again endure problems on Hertstraat on the final lap. Distanced once again, he battled his way back on with Barguil.

“I thought it was a road race, but it looked like a cyclo-cross today,” Evenepoel laughed afterwards. “It was really slippery, really hard to stay up on the bike and not crash. On the cobbles, I wasn’t really comfortable. I wouldn’t really like to do the Flemish Classics, because I was already in trouble with two cobbled sections here.”

The final lap was again punctuated by attack and counter-attack, with Cosnefroy and Sheffield among those trying their luck in the last 12km, though Evenepoel played a significant role in stitching the race back together on each occasion.

When Sheffield went with 3.5km to go, however, there was no immediate response, and the American quickly established a winning gap. Teuns, Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) bridged across to the chasers in the final kilometre to contest the minor placings, but by then, the race was already Sheffield’s to lose.

“I really like these races, with the technical corners and the bad weather,” Sheffield said. “They’re not for the mentally soft kind of person. You had to fight all day out there."

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers 4:53:21
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 0:00:37
3Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
4Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:40
5Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:41
6Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
7Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
9Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:51
11Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost 0:01:46
12Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers
13Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel-Premier Tech
14Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
15Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
16Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
17Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
18Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
19Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
20Vito Braet (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
21Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
22Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
23Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
24Alexis Renard (Fra) Cofidis
25Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
26Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
27Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
28Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Cofidis
29Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
30Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
31Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
32Marco Haller (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
33Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
34Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
35Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
36Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
37Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
38Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
39Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic
40Winner Anacona (Col) Arkea-Samsic
41Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:01
42Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:15
43Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkea-Samsic 0:04:44
44Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
45Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
46Johnatan Cañaveral Vargas (Col) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
47Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-EasyPost
48Robert Stannard (Aus) Alpecin-Fenix
49Eliot Lietaer (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM
50Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:46
51Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel-Premier Tech 0:05:32
52Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal 0:05:50
53Finn Fisher-Black (NZl) UAE Team Emirates 0:05:52
54Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:06:18
55Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:06:22
56Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroen Team 0:07:10
57Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
58Ludovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB 0:07:44
59Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix 0:08:01
60Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
61Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:49
DNFMikaël Cherel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
DNFSébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFRoger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFRuben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAnder Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFOscar Pelegri Ferrandis (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFArne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFDimitri Claeys (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFAlexander Molenaar (Ned) Burgos-BH
DNFAaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFJetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroen Team
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
DNFYukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFTorstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFTorjus Sleen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFJacob Madsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFÅdne Holter (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFPhilippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFCameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFMads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFChristophe Noppe (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
DNFJulian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFJack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFIdar Andersen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFNicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFChun Kai Feng (Tpe) Bahrain Victorious
DNFMartin Marcellusi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFJakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFDavide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFReto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJack Bauer (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFAlessio Martinelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFCyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFDion Smith (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFAlan Boileau (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJulien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAntwan Tolhoek (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFFilippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJan Maas (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFTom Paquot (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFDries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFFelipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFMathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFGiovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFDimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFJonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFNils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
DNFTom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFSander Armée (Bel) Cofidis
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Cofidis
DNFMilan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFArjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFAlex Tolio (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFMartin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSMarkus Pajur (Est) Arkea-Samsic
DNSFilip Maciejuk (Pol) Bahrain Victorious

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