Godon celebrates on the Brusselsesteenweg
Dorian Godon has won the 63rd edition of De Brabantse Pijl. The Frenchman was the fastest in a sprint à deux with Ben Healy. Benoit Cosnefroy was third on the podium after a late puncture.
At 12:30, the starting shot sounded on Ladeuzeplein in Leuven. The riders started out on a 205 km journey with 25 climbs along the way. The early breakaway took place within the first 10 km. Meens (Bingoal WB), De Pestel (Team Flanders-Baloise), Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) and Gudmestad (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) cycled away together building up a lead of 6’20”.
The peloton allowed the group their lead in the first hours of the race, but kept the situation under control. Cautiously, they nibbled away at the leading group's advantage. It was not until the peloton reached the local lap in Overijse that the pace behind the leading group started to pick up sharply. On the Hagaard, Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team) went for a first shake of the tree. Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Dstny) and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) jumped on the Frenchman's wheel.
They could not break away, but thanks to the efforts of the peloton, the advantage the leaders had dropped to below one minute. At 58 km from the finishing line, Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step) thought his moment had come. The Frenchman rushed to the head of the race on the Moskesstraat, while De Pestel was dropped from the leading group. It was also too quick for fellow escapees Meens and Townsed. Only the early escapee Gudmestad was able to hold on and follow Cavagna's wheel. Behind, it was Healy (EF Education-Easypost), Godon (AG2R Citroën Team), Kron (Lotto Dstny) and Eriksson (Tudor Pro Cycling Team) who counter-attacked and were able to close the gap.
This leading group of 6 was able to build up a lead of 45" by the start of the final lap. Cavagna took off again, but on the Hagaard it was Healy who caught up with the Frenchman and then pushed on himself. Godon kept up. For Gudmestad, the story was over, and Kron and Eriksson also cracked. This was the signal for Lotto Dstny to take charge in the peloton.
At the front, allowing the peloton to catch up was what they wanted to avoid. And so Healy accelerated again on the Hertstraat. Godon could follow that Irishman, but for Cavagna it was too quick. In the last 5 km, the two extended their lead to more than half a minute, giving them time to prepare for a sprint à deux on the Brusselsesteenweg. With 200 metres to go, it was the Frenchman who started his sprint from the front. Healy never got out of the wheel and came over the finishing line in second place. Cosnefroy completed the party for AG2R Citroen Team by taking the third spot on the podium, as was the case last year.