Gilbert claims Brabantse Pijl crown

Wed, 13 Apr 17:22:00 2011

Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert won the Brabantse Pijl, outsprinting fellow Belgian Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) in a two-man finish.

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The 28-year-old - runner-up on the Pijl in 2008 - finished the 201.1km race in four hours, 40 minutes and 39 seconds, leaving Frenchman Anthony Geslin (FDJ) in third place, one minute and two seconds back.

Last year’s runner-up, Thomas De Gendt, led the early attack but failed to make any real distance and was quickly swallowed up by the peloton.

A group consisting of Kenny De Haes (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Julien El Fares (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Thomas Bonnin (Skil-Shimano) and Andrea Pasqualon (Colnago-CSF Inox) then forged an attack that forced a gap of three minutes, but were eventually caught after an hour by the Rabobank-led bunch.

With 60km to go, another group – this time consisting of Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Dries Devenyns (Quick Step), Johnny Hoogerland and Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Romain Zingle (Cofidis) and Geslin – forged a lead of 20 seconds, with the Vaconsoleil team doing their utmost to disrupt the peloton and preserve Leukemans and Hoogerland ‘s group.

Gilbert caught up with the group on the Heerstraat, and the seven riders stretched their lead over the peloton to 1:15 as they undertook the closing laps of the finishing circuit.

Jerome Pineau (Quick-Step) and Gianni Meersman (FDJ) led the eventual counter-attack from the peloton on the third lap – out of five - of the finishing circuit, leaving the bunch far behind and out of contention.

On the final lap, Leukemans and Gilbert showed their class with a late attack, before Gilbert powered past his compatriot at the death to notch his fourth win of the season.

Gilbert claims Brabantse Pijl crown


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