D’Hoore comes close with fourth at De Brabantse PijlWed 11 Apr 2018
Belgian road champion Jolien D’Hoore produced a strong performance at the inaugural edition of De Brabantse Pijl for Mitchelton-SCOTT today, sprinting to fourth place in a closely contested finale.
Despite starting with only four riders the Australian outfit made sure they were in the thick of the action with Santos Women’s Tour winner Amanda Spratt infiltrating the days breakaway that was caught with only ten kilometres left to race.
A fast day over the Flemish cobbles and climbs saw splits repeatedly appear in the peloton as they laboured behind the leading group before a reduced bunch of favourites contested the finale with Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) taking the win from a closely contested sprint with D’Hoore in fourth.
The opening kilometres saw plenty of attacks, but all were closely marked by the peloton as a compact bunch hit the early climbs and cobbled sectors.
Finally, an attack broke away with Spratt making it into a seven-rider move that held a slight advantage over the attentive bunch approaching the halfway point.
Managing to hold their lead into the closing circuits as the bunch behind split into several groups over the cobbles with D’Hoore amongst the first chasers and a fast final 30kilometres approaching.
Late catch ahead of the sprint finish:
Numerous attempts to bridge to the lead group were thwarted over the closing kilometres as both groups split and reformed before a strong group of favourites that contained D’Hoore controlled the tempo until the eventual regrouping occurred inside the final ten kilometres.
A fast finale unfolded as the reduced group shaped for the sprint with Bastianelli continuing her recent run of form and taking a hard fought victory ahead of D’Hoore in fourth place.
Jolien D’Hoore – 4th:
“We had a strong Spratty up there for us today and that took some pressure off, but there were still a lot of attacks going on in the bunch. It wasn’t an easy race for us, but we raced well together and made the most out of it.”
“It all came back together with around seven kilometres to go. But there were a lot of tired legs in that group. I was well positioned but couldn’t finish it off which is a shame and unfortunately, I ran out of legs in the sprint.”
Sport director Gene Bates:
“There was never a dull moment today and it was a fast and exciting race. Spratty rode really well and took the pressure off us by getting herself into the breakaway on more than one occasion and it was a shame that neither move went all the way because Spratty was going very well today.”
“Once the front of the race came back together ahead of the final Jess Allen took it up and kept things together before setting Jolien up in a great position for the sprint which was quite straightforward, but we just missed out today.
“The girls rode strongly throughout and we’re happy with how we performed today. Our condition is good ahead of Amstel Gold on Sunday and there are plenty of positives se can take from today, Lucy Kennedy made a solid return to competition and we’re looking forward to the Ardennes now.”
De Brabantse Pijl results:
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) 03:37:56
2. Leah Kirchmann (Team-Sunweb) ST
3. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals-Pro-Cycling) ST
4. Jolien D’Hoore (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.