As expected, Brussels Cycling Classic concluded in a bunch gallop, and the Italian finished in the top 10.
The 97th edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic (201.3 kilometers) was an action-packed, relentless and hectic race, which despite having the sprinters in the spotlight at the finish, didn't go according to the usual script. The race kicked-off from Jubelpark, and just a few kilometers into it, a five-man breakaway got green light from the peloton and opened a five-minute gap, before Quick-Step Floors took the reins in the pack and increased the pace.
Our team's work brought the gap down to two minutes, but the abandon of Marcel Kittel – who had to step down with 75 kilometers remaining – changed everything, and once our squad didn't control gap of the escapees anymore, a flurry of attacks followed and the race reshuffled. As a result, on one of the last hills on the route, several riders accelerated and made it into the front group, which built a one-minute lead over the peloton.
From there, Mathias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) went solo inside the last ten kilometers and put 40 seconds between him and the peloton, only to be reeled in with one kilometer left. The sprint trains then took over and the Brussels Cycling Classic concluded with the victory of Arnaud Demare (FDJ) over Marko Kump (UAE Team Emirates) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
Davide Martinelli sprinted for Quick-Step Floors and notched up a tenth place on the line, his second top-10 finish in the space of 12 days, after the one in another Belgian race, Grote Prijs Jef Scherens.
"It wasn't our best day. We worked hard, chased behind the escapees, but it was really difficult out there. Unfortunately, Marcel was dropped on one of the climbs, despite being strong during the race, and soon his race was over. Coming here, we knew it was going to be a difficult day and it proved just that. On the bright side, Davide got involved at the finish and took a top-10 result for us", sport director Tom Steels after the race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele