Daryl Impey goes on the attack at Brabanste PijlWed 17 Apr 2019
Double South African Daryl Impey went down fighting at De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne after going on a solo attack in the closing kilometres.
Australian Cameron Meyer was also active and on the attack during a tough day of climbing, with 2019 signing Dion Smith coming home in 25th to end the day as the team's top finisher.
The break of the day
Seven riders jumped clearly in the early stages with the peloton content to let them head up the road as the bunch knocked off the pace. The escapees opened up a maximum advantage of just under five minutes, before being held at around three minutes.
As the race approached the first of three finishing loops, the gap to the seven leaders was dropping dramatically and sat at just 45 seconds when the pack passed under the finish line for the first time.
The race burst into life with 60-kilometres remaining as two riders clipped off the front of the peloton. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) jumped across to the duo, but with no cooperation between the trio the peloton quickly shutdown the dangerous looking attack.
Attack, attack, attack
Meyer briefly found himself clear of the bunch in a group of five, but again the bunch was quick to close the quintet down. Impey was the next man to chance his arm and his acceleration spelled the end of the breakaway, even if the move came to nothing.
But with the breakaway reeled back in and sensing a lull in the peloton, Impey launched a second attack. The double Tour Down Under champion quickly opened up a gap of around 20 seconds heading onto the final lap as the bunch scrabbled to organise a chase.
The South African was eventually joined by a strong group of favourites with 17-kilometres left to race, but as they began to attack each other Impey was dropped. The select group was now down to four and with no real chase from behind they contested the finale with Van der Poel sprinting to victory.
"The plan was to try get a result and I think I was close to that today, I may have just got a little excited too early. It was for either Dion or myself to wait for the final sprint, but sometimes you race on your feelings and I felt it was the moment to try something as I was feeling pretty good.”
“When the favourites caught me I was still feeling good but Wellens hurt me with his attack and I never recovered from my effort before, I was solo for quite some time.”
“It was a shame as I was where I needed to be and left the race with not much to show for my efforts. That being said I feel confident and mentally I ticked a few boxes for myself and assured myself that I am ready for the new races. As a team I think we are ready as well."
Matt White (Sports Director):
“So, the final result was a little disappointing, but the main purpose of today was to get a solid hit out for the races that are ahead.”
"The plan was for Daryl to test himself by either waiting for the sprint or going on the attack and in the end he decided he was feeling good and went on the attack."
“We are certainly in a better place for the effort made today and our focus now turns to recovering and zoning in on our goals for the three Ardennes classics, starting with Amstel Gold on Sunday.”
De Brabantse Pijl – Results:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon - Circus) 4:35:11
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) ST
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) ST
25. Dion Smith (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:23
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.