Facebook Pixel Image

ROULEUR ISSUE 19.6 - NOW AVAILABLE

  • Brabantse Pijl: the overlooked Ardennes race

    Posted on

    It may not have a cult following like its Ardenne sisters, but as so often happens with smaller races, riders are more willing to go in with an all or nothing mantra

    Photographs: Offside/L'Equipe
    Gilbert

    It was 2011, the year Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert accomplished what only one other man had done – he completed the ‘Ardennes treble’, winning the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the same week.

     

    The Walloon was all-conquering that year – before he had even turned up to the first of the trio he had won Strade Bianche, a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico and placed third in Milan-Sanremo. A ninth place in the Ronde van Vlaanderen only confirmed his form, just weeks before the final Classics of spring.

     

    Only there was another race, a fourth part of the Ardennes challenge. It may be just another race for many, but not Gilbert. The controversial Davide Rebellin is his only equal in the pantheon of Ardennes legends – in 2004, he became the first rider to complete the triple – but only Gilbert has won all four.

     

    Read: Paris-Roubaix 2018 – equipment in focus

     

    Brabantse Pijl (Flèche Brabançonne to Walloons) is the race. It’s often overlooked, taking place in the midweek before Amstel Gold, but it’s a race that Gilbert holds in high regard. He was quick to point this out when we asked about his Ardennes treble in issue 53.

     

    “I actually won four races: there was Flèche Brabançonne too – it’s also important to mention this, I think. So I’d won four races in ten days. I was happy.”

     

    Gallery: Pais Vasco – Tour of the Basque Country in photos

     

    Like the Scheldeprijs, with which Brabantse Pijl swapped dates a few years back, it’s amongst a group of one-day races that pass many fans by. All four have a strong history and famed winners but the packed modern cycling calendar means they are now largely overshadowed by larger events.

     

    A varied group of riders, including Freddy Maertens, Edwig van Hooydonck, Michele Bartoli and Óscar Freire won the race before Gilbert took the first of his two victories. Impressive names, but how many have read about their triumphs in this race?

     

    The race was bought by the Flanders Classics organisation in 2010. Immediately, boss Wouter Vandenhaute moved the finish to Overijse, south-east of Brussels, so that the route would pass his house on the finishing circuits. It’s hard to imagine another race’s owner attempting to transform it into a personal criterium.

    So is the race’s low-key status merited? It’s younger than the other Ardennes Classics, with the exception of the Amstel Gold Race, but it’s also one of the more exciting. As can often be the case with smaller races, it feels like more of an open contest than those that follow, where riders don’t wait until the final climb to make their move.

     

    Another factor that contributes to the action is that it’s not quite as tough as the bigger-name races, in spite of the nineteen climbs traversed on four laps of the final circuit. It’s seen as a build-up race for the majority of the peloton, meaning for some second-stringers, it’s a chance to make their mark.

     

    This updated article was originally published in 2015

     

    Ami Roubaix banner



    36 thoughts on “Brabantse Pijl: the overlooked Ardennes race”

    1. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually was
      a entertainment account it. Glance complicated to far delivered agreeable from you!
      However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

    2. Hello to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this webpage; this website contains amazing
      and actually excellent stuff designed for readers.

    3. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right.
      This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine
      simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    4. Hi! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.
      Does operating a well-established website like yours require a lot of work?
      I am brand new to blogging however I do write in my diary every day.

      I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and
      thoughts online. Please let me know if you have
      any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
      Thankyou!

    5. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted
      to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
      After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

    6. I’m not sure why but this blog is loading extremely slow for
      me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?

      I’ll check back later on and see if the problem
      still exists.

    7. I got this web page from my pal who shared with me about this site
      and now this time I am visiting this web
      page and reading very informative articles or reviews at this place.

    8. Awesome website you have here but I was wanting to know
      if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked
      about here? I’d really love to be a part of online community
      where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share
      the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
      Thanks a lot!

    9. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this
      paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this good
      post. pof natalielise

    10. Its not my first time to visit this web page, i am visiting this
      website dailly and get pleasant data from here everyday.

    11. My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
      I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
      But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on various websites for about a year and am anxious about
      switching to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about blogengine.net.
      Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?
      Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

    12. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also
      pay a quick visit this blog on regular basis to take updated from most
      up-to-date news.

    13. I really love your site.. Excellent colors & theme.
      Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my very own blog
      and would love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is called.

      Thanks!

    14. Undeniably imagine that which you said. Your favourite
      justification appeared to be on the internet the easiest factor to consider of.
      I say to you, I definitely get irked whilst folks consider concerns that they just do not
      recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , people
      can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more.
      Thank you

    15. whoah this weblog is wonderful i really like studying your posts.
      Keep up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are looking round for
      this info, you can help them greatly.

    16. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
      somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.
      Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

    Leave a Reply

    Your e-mail address will not be published.