De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne

BE Belgium, 17 Apr
1 stages, 196.2 km

Alaphilippe takes runner-up at Brabantse Pijl

Alaphilippe takes runner-up at Brabantse Pijl

Julian Alaphilippe made his first outing in three years at Brabantse Pijl and the Frenchman was again one of the main players. If in 2016 he set up teammate Petr Vakoč for the win, this time around Julian was directly involved in the fight for victory, after riding clear with four other riders following an attack he launched on Hertstraat, the 28th of the day’s thirty-one climbs.

Before this happened, Deceuninck – Quick-Step were the most active team in the race, controlling the breakaway with the likes of Rémi Cavagna and Tim Declercq, policing the front of the bunch and sending neo-pro Mikkel Honoré up the road to counter attacks inside the final 50 kilometers. When that move was brought to an end, Dries Devenyns, Pieter Serry and Vakoč took over the reins again and put in some strong turns which decimated the field and opened the way for Julian’s acceleration, who kicked off the proceedings with some 20-odd kilometers remaining.

While his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates tracked down moves from the bunch, ensuring the quintet’s gap remained a steady one, Alaphilippe worked well together with his companions, driving the pace and putting more than half a minute into the chasers. A strong attack on the Holstheide reduced the leading group to four men, but their advantage remained intact over the top of Ijskelderlaan. A probing acceleration of the Milano-Sanremo champion saw the others follow with five kilometers to go, and with no other digs coming on the Schavei (700 meters, 6.2%), the race was decided on the flat finishing straight.

Julian Alaphilippe – who was returning to competition after crashing out of last week’s Vuelta a Pais Vasco twenty-four hours after picking up a stage win – took second behind Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) for his 12th top 10 finish of the season; it was an encouraging result which bodes well for the 26-year-old ahead of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, where he will lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who concluded Brabantse Pijl with two riders in the upper part of the standings, after Pieter Serry rolled over the line in ninth.

“My team did a superb job and on the last lap I decided to attack. Over the top of the climb we were five riders and I rode full gas to help this move go all the way to the line”, said Alaphilippe after netting France’s best result in seven years at Brabantse Pijl. “This morning I was already happy to be back racing and now I am content having finished on the podium, although I would have liked to win, as this is in my nature. In the end, it was a good test and a nice comeback, which gives me confidence going into the Ardennes Classics.”

 

Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen/ Getty Images

Race details

1 Mathieu van der Poel
Corendon - Circus
4:35:11
2 Julian Alaphilippe
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
3 Tim Wellens
Lotto Soudal
,,
4 Michael Matthews
Team Sunweb
,,
5 Bjorg Lambrecht
Lotto Soudal
0:11
6 Alberto Bettiol
EF Education First
0:12
7 Enrico Gasparotto
Team Dimension Data
,,
8 Alexander Kamp
Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
,,
9 Pieter Serry
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
10 Maurits Lammertink
Roompot - Charles
,,
27 Petr Vakoč
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
42 Dries Devenyns
Deceuninck - Quick Step
0:43
74 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
8:35
104 Rémi Cavagna
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
DNF Tim Declercq
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,

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