53rd De Brabantse Pijl: Peter Sagan Unstoppable


Peter Sagan edges out the World Champion Gilbert on the final slopes of De Brabantse Pijl to show his cards before the Ardennes Classics

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In an attacking finale featuring former Endura Racing rider Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura), Peter Sagan came under attack from BMC and Omega Pharma Quickstep but the Cannondale rider was equal to the challenge as few were able to match him on the final slopes.

After closing down the attack by Greg van Avermaet (BMC) with over a k to go, Sagan seemingly waited for World Champion Gilbert and then Bjorn Luekemans to come up to him only to outsprint them all, just, in the gallop to the finish line.


Whilst the win by Sagan was no surprise, the form of Gilbert ahead of the Ardennes Classics is looking better than it has been whilst the 9th place of Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura) shows he’s coming back to his best racing against the World’s best.

Yorkshire’s Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) was also in great shape, 26th and less than a minute of the win by Sagan.

“The finale was the most difficult part of the race” explained Sagan. “I was isolated against the attacks of Omega-QuickStep and BMC, and all the riders let me have the responsibility to bring back the attacks. I had a good chance on the last climb so I let it rip to close the gap on Van Avermaet and to leave behind many riders as possible.”

“It was big effort. In the final straight we were against the wind and Gilbert was just behind me. I thought to do a short sprint but he anticipated my plan. At that point, I had only to follow him and try to pass: I’m really happy to have done it”.

“Since the beginning of the season the ‘Amstel’ is one of my targets. I didn’t race Paris-Roubaix to be on top condition. The Brabante’s win is an important sign for me. I await a close challenge on Sunday” added the Slovak champion.

World Champ Still Chasing first win in Stripes

World Champion Philippe Gilbert was denied his first victory of the season as reigning world road champion and said afterwards “I was confident for the sprint because I was already on his wheel the last five kilometers and I was very focused,” Gilbert said.

“It was so close.” Winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up in 2008, Gilbert had received help from teammate Greg Van Avermaet to launch an attack with 18 km to go that split the peloton. With Gilbert marking Sagan in the final two kilometers, Van Avermaet followed a move by Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) before launching his own attack.”

“But the fourth-place finisher at Paris-Roubaix was caught and passed on the final climb, setting up the sprint between Gilbert and Sagan. Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) finished third, three seconds later.

The result was Gilbert’s second runner-up finish of the season, adding to the same placing in a bunch sprint finish on Stage 6 at Paris-Nice last month. “It is always better to win, but we did a great race and we played our cards in the final,” Gilbert said.

“It also gives a lot of confidence to the team and to myself as well. But it’s always better to win, for sure.” Van Avermaet would go on to place sixth, 12 seconds back, while teammate Danilo Wyss was 15th. “At the beginning of the race, I wasn’t feeling so good,” Van Avermaet said. “But after I attacked with Philippe on my wheel, I still had good legs. We did some good teamwork to attack there.”


1 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 04:45:05
2 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team @ st
3 LEUKEMANS Bjorn Vacansoleil – DCM 00:04
4 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:09
5 GESCHKE Simon Team Argos – Shimano @ st
6 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team 00:11
7 MALACARNE Davide Team Europcar 00:17
8 DEVOLDER Stijn RadioShack – Leopard 00:19
9 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura 00:22
10 DEHAES Kenny Lotto Belisol Team 00:25
11 MAES Nikolas Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:28
12 LAGUTIN Sergey Vacansoleil – DCM 00:54
13 GALLOPIN Tony RadioShack – Leopard 00:57
14 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar @ st
15 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team @ st
16 KREDER Michel Garmin – Sharp @ st
17 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
18 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
19 WELLENS Tim Lotto Belisol Team @ st
20 EDET Nicolas Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
21 VANTOMME Maxime Crelan-Euphony @ st
22 JEROME Vincent Team Europcar @ st
23 DEKKER Thomas Garmin – Sharp @ st
24 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
25 PARISIEN Francois Team Argos – Shimano @ st
26 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura @ st
108 MCEVOY Jonathan Team NetApp – Endura 08:13


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