The route of Brabantse Pijl – or, La Flèche Brabançonne – was revamped last year in favour of the false flat finish just after the S-Bocht climb in finish. The race came down to a three-up sprint with Trentin, Van Aert and Pidcock. The Flemish rider opened early and Trentin couldn’t follow, while Pidcock emerged victorious. The MTB Olympic Champion is in Belgium to defend his crown.
A daunting gauntlet of ascents make Brabantse Pijl a true race of attrition. The final lap is 22 kilometres long and features five climbs. Last year, Trentin jumped clear from the front group before the last lap. Pidcock and Va Aert catched him on the steep and cobbled Moskesstraat. They remained together on the Holstheide before the final kilometre rose at 3%.
Normally, Brabantse Pijl is a transition race between the cobbled Classics in Flanders and the hilly Classics in Wallonia/the Netherlands. As the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix swapped places the situation is different now, but still, the race is a perfect test before the third Monument of the season, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, which is scheduled for Sunday 24 April.
Recent winners of Brabantse Pijl are Pidcock (2021), Alaphilippe (2020), Van der Poel (2019), Wellens (2018), and Colbrelli (2017).
Favourites 2022 Brabantse Pijl
*** Tom Pidcock, Julian Alaphilippe, Benoît Cosnefroy
** Marc Hirschi, Michael Matthews, Remco Evenepoel
* Tim Wellens, Michal Kwiatkowski, Matteo Trentin