Brabantse Pijl is sandwiched between the cobbled Classics in Belgium/Northern France and the hilly Classics in Belgium/the Netherlands. In fact, that’s quite accurate – it really is a transition race. Hardly any cobbles and the hills are less tricky than in Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Yet, with a daunting gauntlet of 26 ascents it’s not a walk in the park either.
Contenders who have tasted the sweetness of success in La Flèche Brabançonne are Philippe Gilbert (2011, 2014), Ben Hermans (2015) and Petr Vakoč (2016). Gilbert is favourite to win the 2017 edition, too He was in fine form during the whole Flemish campaign and he was in a class of his own when he soloed to a heroic victory in the Tour of Flanders.
Yet, the likes of Matthews, Impey, Colbrelli and Wellens are powers to be reckoned with. Recently, Matthews did win a stage in the Tour of the Basque Country, Impey outsprinted Valverde at the end of a hilly stage in the Volta a Catalunya, Colbrelli took the win in a tough and wet Paris-Nice stage, while Tim Wellens brought a long escape home in a hilly stage in the Ruta del Sol.
Favourites Brabantse Pijl 2017
*** Philippe Gilbert, Michael Matthews, Tim Wellens
** Daryl Impey, Enrico Gasparotto, Petr Vakoc, Ben Hermans, Sonny Colbrelli, Bryan Coquard
* Paul Martens, Simon Gerrans, Tosh Van der Sande, Juan José Lobato
Brabantse Pijl 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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