RadioShack's Rosseler wins Brabantse Pijl
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RadioShack's Rosseler wins Brabantse Pijl

by Bjorn Haake at 11:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Brabantse Pijl
 

Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) beat his two breakaway companions Thomas de Gendt and Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step) for a prestigious win in the Brabantse Pijl in Belgium. The efforts by Rabobank to bring it back together for a bunch sprint for three-time winner Oscar Freire failed, and Freire was beaten in the sprint for eighth by Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Van de Walle started the sprint but was quickly countered by De Gendt. The Topsport Vlaanderen rider then had to succumb to Rosseler's late charge. A group with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) and Paul Martens (Rabobank) had countered but did not manage to reach the three front runners.

“I did my work the whole day,” commented Rosseler after the race. “Maybe one lap I recovered a bit. I didn’t want to attack earlier as I knew it was better if we stayed together. With  three of us, we had a chance to stay in the front. Fighting alone against the rest would have been impossible.”

He admitted his win was an unlikely scenario: “Can you imagine that I chased Vandewalle in the beginning only to be in an early breakaway, to have some TV publicity for our sponsor, knowing that we would be caught by the peloton?  I had such bad legs this morning in the beginning of the race. This is incredible.”

RadioShack's sports director Dirk Demol added: “When we saw that the break got 8 minutes and 40 seconds, I started to believe in a happy ending. The chase behind by other teams was never well organized. Séba had some difficulties in the end, but  that bad moment passed.  I told him to stay in the back the last kilometer. We knew that the last 200 meters suited him well. The only unknown factor was that young rider from Topsport Vlaanderen. He appeared to be very dangerous in the end.”

Brabantse Pijl is the eighth professional victory for Rosseler, and is his biggest win to date.

“He deserved this,”  continued  Demol. “I told Séba to believe in it. This is a big compensation for everything that went wrong for him in the classics so far. When you don’t expect such a victory, it is twice as nice.”

“Flat tires and crashes ruined my Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. This is a nice compensation, also for the work I’ve done last winter,” concluded Rosseler.

Early moving

Jurgen Van De Walle (Quick-Step) and Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) went ahead early in the race. One rider who had been active even before that was Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlaanderen). He eventually managed to move up to the leading duo with Niko Eeckhout (An Post Sean Kelly), Enrico Peruffo (CarmioOro) and Alexander Gottfried (NetApp).

Over the Schavei, one of the short and steep climbs, Gottfried, Peruffo and Eeckhout started to have problems, after the leaders already entered the local laps. Each lap was 12.7km long, there were five laps to do and four climbs each, besides the cobble stones. The Schavei was the final of those four climbs and the place where Gottfried, Peruffo and Eeckhout eventually got dropped.

The peloton was still over six minutes back with some 50km remaining. With less than 30km to go, Philippe Gilbert countered and formed a chase group with Paul Martens, Thomas Voeckler and the sixth place Paris-Roubaix finisher Björn Leukemans. Martens did not pull, as Rabobank was still hoping to launch Oscar Freire for the sprint.

But the Dutch team left it awfully late, and going into the final lap, the bunch was still over two minutes behind. The Gilbert group was 1'35 back. Over the Hagaard, the first climb in the lap, Gilbert pulled hard, but the others stayed put.

Over the Hertstraat, the gap was still 1'20 between the leading three and the Gilbert group and 1'45 to the bunch. Rosseler led over the climb, but right after it, it was Van der Walle who attacked. De Gendt and Rosseler reacted, but the latter looked to be in trouble. He managed to recover, though.

With 5 kilometers remaining the gap was still 1'10, with the bunch only at 1'26 and closing in on the Gilbert group. The final climb up the Schavei brought the decision, with the break still 50 seconds over the chasers. Their gap proved to be enough.

Results

1. Sébastien Rosseler (Bel)
2. Thomas De Gendt (Bel)
3. Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel)
4. Paul Martens (Ger)
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
6. Thomas Voeckler (Fra)
7. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel)
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)
9. Oscar Freire (Spa)
10. Daniel Moreno (Spa)

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