Brabantse Pijl steps up, E3 Prijs stands firm
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Friday, October 08, 2010

Brabantse Pijl steps up, E3 Prijs stands firm

by Jered Gruber at 4:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Belgian Classics taking shape for 2011

With the idea in mind that it's never too early to start thinking about the Spring Classics, news has been rolling in this week about some changes and some continuations in next year's Spring Classics calendar.

The Brabantse Pijl will move up in class next season from a 1.1 to 1.HC. The upgrade was a happy day following two years of trying by race organizers.

"Our application is finally approved, after trying for two years. Hopefully, we can now attract a stronger field. We want at least 13 ProTeams to start," said the organizers to Belgian media, according to feltet.dk.

De Brabantse Pijl was moved around a bit in the calendar this year and seems to have found an ideal location as the event that marks the turning of the tide from the cobbled classics to the hilly Ardennes races. It now holds a solid spot on the calendar on the Wednesday between Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race.

The Belgian semi-classic will now take its place as a 1.HC alongside other top Spring races: the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the E3 Prijs, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and Dwars door Vlaanderen.

In 2010, RadioShack's Sebastien Rosseler managed to stave off a Belgian shutout in the Belgian Classics for the first time in 100 years with victory in De Brabantse Pijl.

Meanwhile, another 1.HC race, the E3 Prijs-Harelbeke, will continue to hold its same spot on the calendar, the week before the Ronde van Vlaanderen. There had been calls to move the date of the E3, so that the E3 and Gent-Wevelgem do not occupy the same weekend, but ultimately, it was decided to keep the two races together. If anything, E3 spokesman, Jacques Coessens, defiantly enjoys the spot on the calendar, even with the higher ranked, Gent-Wevelgem the next day.

"With 54 editions, the race has become a Classic. We cannot help that the E3 Prijs riders see our race as the ultimate preparation for the Ronde and give up halfway the next day in Gent-Wevelgem," said Coessens to WielerRevue.

Coessens and the E3 Prijs aren't against a move to a different date in the spring though if the race can get a bump in level to the ranks of Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde, and Paris-Roubaix. Coessens, however, seems to imply that while they would be willing to change date, their spot on the calendar is ideal, perhaps it should be Gent-Wevelgem, a race that just changed dates this season, that should do the moving.

"The organizers of the E3 Prijs would indeed be willing to change dates in the future. The financial resources are available for a chance in rank. Our opportunities are great. Once on the ProTour, we would be willing to accept a different date, although it seems logical that we stay where we stand. That, I think, is also the desire of the riders."

Fabian Cancellara showed his hand in full for the first time this Spring when he unleashed an incredible attack in the final kilometer to take the win out of a startstudded trio: himself, E3 King Boonen, and Flecha.

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