- - De Brabantse Pijl 2023

De Brabantse Pijl 2023

photo credits @ DBP

Dorian Godon claimed today’s 63rd edition of De Brabantse Pijl, after the French rider beat Ben Healy in the sprint finish, while Benoit Cosnefroy rounded out the podium in third on the podium after a late attack.

Today’s 205 kilometer route got underway in Leuven, with a small breakaway group containing Meens (Bingoal WB), De Pestel (Team Flanders-Baloise), Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) and Gudmestad (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) emerging after 10 kilometers of racing. 

Content with letting the escapees linger off the front, the peloton eventually reined them in Overijse, with Cosnefroy animating things along the Hagaard, with Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Dstny) and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) quick to mark his move.

However a more aggressive move came from Remi Cavagna, hitting the front with only Tord Gudmestad (Uno-X Pro Cycling)able to follow him. But, Healy, Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny), Godon  and Lucas Eriksson (Tudor Pro Cycling) managed to bridge their way to the lead duo.

With two laps to race, the six had opened a 40-second gap on the peloton, which appeared unwilling or unable to lead the chase. Bahrain Victorious and then Cofidis led the chase but the peloton was down to a rabble of tired and rain-soaked riders.

The sun came out but the roads were still wet, testing riders’ bike skills on the twisting, ever variable roads. Healy tried a solo attack with 38 km to go but he was pulled back and perhaps regretted using valuable energy.  The six attackers then stayed together until the bell rang out to signal the final 21.9km lap.

On the Hagaard climb for the last time, Gudmestad cracked after a big day out and Healy again tried to split the group. He was joined by Godon and eventually Cavagna to form the strongest trio with 18 kilometers to go.  

The cobbled Hertstraat climb always hurts and Healy wisely stuck to the smoother gutter and powered away. Godon was able to go with him but surprisingly Cavagna struggled and was distanced. His time trial skills were not enough to close the gap.

On the steep and cobbled Moskesstraat climb, Godon opened a five-meter gap on Healy but the Irishman fought his way back on to keep his chances alive. They stayed together over the gentler Holstheide climb, with Healy even leading Godon as they worked to make sure they stayed away from Cavagna and the peloton.

Godon and Healy started the twisting S-Bocht climb together, the Irishman sitting on Godon, in an attempt to play mind games and boost his chances in the sprint to the line.

Godon decided to lead the two up the 1.3 kilometers long S-Bocht, waiting for the right moment before stomping on the pedals, while Healy tried to hold his wheel but soon accepted second place. It was a good result for the EF Education-EasyPost as he started his Ardennes campaign.

Twenty-one seconds later Cosnefroy surged past Cavanga, who suffered a slow puncture in the final five kilometers, to take third and give AG2R Citroën two places on the podium. 

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