Julian Alaphilippe will be at the start of the Belgian Classic, his last appointment before the Ardennes.
Four important one-day races remain this spring for the Wolfpack, the first of these coming on Wednesday, when the riders will line out for the 59th Brabantse Pijl. The race will take place again between Leuven and Overijse, over 196.2 leg-sapping kilometers punctuated by 27 hills, including Haagard, Hertstraat, Ijskelderlaan and Schavei.
In the past ten years, on six occasions the winner came from a small group, but the roller coaster route of the Belgian classic can also play into the favour of an attacker, as was the case in 2016, when Petr Vakoč – at that time the reigning Czech champion – soloed to a beautiful victory following another tactical masterpiece by the team.
Petr comes back to Brabantse Pijl after two years, part of a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step seven-man outfit which will include also Julian Alaphilippe, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Mikkel Honoré and Pieter Serry, with the exception of Declercq, all riders who were in action last week at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
Leader of both the UCI Individual Ranking and the individual victory classification this season, Julian has been cleared by the doctors to return to racing following his crash in the Basque Country, his presence giving our squad more cards to play in what usually is a hectic and spectacular finale.
“Brabantse Pijl is a very hard race, with many climbs that will wear down the riders and lead to several selections. The entire day will be up and down and this will have a big impact on the final outing”, said sports director Geert Van Bondt. “Our spring has been incredible so far and we don’t want to stop here. Julian, Petr, Dries or Pieter are all strong riders who know the parcours and are suited to the race, so we hope to come out of it with another good result.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images