Sheffield solo to the party in Overijse
19-year old Magnus Sheffield won the Brabantse Pijl after an attack in the final kilometres. He escaped a front group of six and crossed the line solo. Frenchman Cosnefroy sprinted to second place, ahead of Barguil.
At 12.30am the men elite riders started from the Ladeuzeplein in Leuven. It doesn't take long for the breakaway of the day to form. Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces WB), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport-Vlaanderen Baloise) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) get the green light from the peloton. Their lead will eventually be around 4 minutes.
With less than 100km to go, the local laps come into view. On the Hertstraat, Van Poucke and Robeet are the first to get away, the Spaniard Okamika has to give up a few lengths. In the meantime, the peloton is fighting to be in a good position to start the first climb of the local laps. It is Turner who will shake the tree for INEOS Grenadiers. He gets teammate Sheffield, Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal), Kamp (Trek-Segafredo) and Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) along.
About 10 km later, at 73 km from the finish, Evenepoel attacks on the Holstheide. Teuns joins the wheel and rides with Evenepoel and Wellens to the Turner group. The peloton is not far and a regrouping is inevitable, everything can start over again at the beginning of the second local lap in Overijse.
Evenepoel sees his chance again. He accelerates on the Holstheide and follows Turner & Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers), Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Stannard (Alpecin Fenix). Also Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team), Barguil (Team Arkéa-Samsic), Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers), Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) and Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) come along. This group of 10 riders gets away with every passing minute and seems to be fighting for the victory.
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Soon after, Teuns is dropped from the front due to a flat tyre. After a wheel change, he joins the peloton where the men of Israel - Premier Tech try to close the gap. The climbs follow each other rapidly and the riders get ready for the third passage on Hertstraat. Sheffield accelerates in the front group, but Evenepoel is a bit too far. The Belgian tries to make up places on the cobbles, but has to leave a gap together with Campenaerts and Barguil. On the way to the third time Moskesstraat, Barguil and Evenepoel teamed up to get back in front, which they did. At the bottom of Moskesstraat, Evenepoel, Barguil and Campenaerts rejoin the front group.
At the top of Moskesstraat, Evenepoel goes all out again but without success. One slope later, on the Holstheide, Evenepoel accelerates again, just like on the first two passages. Things go too fast for Campenaerts and Stannard at the front. After which there are no more attacks for a while. Until the last passage on Hertstraat. Sheffield accelerates in the gutter, with Cosnefroy in his wheel. Just like a lap before, Evenepoel, who seems afraid of riding in the gutter, has to leave a gap. Cosnefroy and Sheffield get away for a moment but a general regrouping is not long in coming. Evenepoel also manages to close the gap. Meanwhile, in the background, Teuns, Meurisse, Matthews, Trentin and Kron ride away from the peloton on Hertstraat.
At the last Moskesstraat, Barguil is the winner. The Frenchman rejoins the front just before Holstheide. On the penultimate climb Pidcock sets the pace, but there is no separation. It seems like the final attack is deemed to happen on the S-bend, but that’s not Sheffield’s plan. At 3,5 km from the finish the 19-year old American of INEOS Grenadiers goes solo.
After Sheffield lets INEOS Grenadiers celebrate in Overijse for the second year in a row, Cosnefroy sprints for Wellens to the second place. The latter loses his podium place after a declassification due to a manoeuvre in the sprint to Barguil.