Race: Brabantse Pijl
Start/Finish: Leuven/Overijse, Belgium
Distance: 205 kilometers
Overijse, Belgium — Wednesday served as Team Novo Nordisk’s 2016 Belgian debut as the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team tackled the 56th edition of Brabantse Pijl. The race started under cloudy skies and drizzled off and on throughout the race that covered 26 climbs and multiple cobblestone sections.
A four-man break escaped early into the 205-kilometer race and earned a maximum gap of 5:20. By the 10th climb, several chase groups bridged up to these leaders. New attacks followed, which shattered the newly formed front group. Attacks continued from both the escapees and the peloton, and the race came back together with 30 km remaining.
On the final lap, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) escaped, but a reduced peloton soon reeled them back in. It wasn’t until the final climb up IJskelderlaan that a distinct final group formed with David Tanner (IAM Cycling), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep), Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) going clear. The two QuickStep riders worked together with Vakoc powering to the win six seconds ahead of Gasparotto.
“This year was definitely harder than last year. It felt faster and more chaotic all day,” Team Novo Nordisk’s David Lozano said. “I pushed myself over all the climbs. I stayed in the front group until the final 10 kilometers but with all the attacks, a gap formed and I wasn’t able to bridge back up. I gave it my all and rode the best I could today.”
- 1st: Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep): 4:48:50
- 2nd: Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): 0:06 behind Vakoc
- 3rd: Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): 0:12 behind Vakoc
Team Novo Nordisk Results:
- David Lozano: 65th: 6:49 behind Vakoc
- Charles Planet: 117th: 13:18 behind Vakoc
- Kevin De Mesmaeker: 123nd: 13:18 behind Vakoc
- Brian Kamstra: outside of time limit
- Martijn Verschoor: DNF
- Stephen Clancy: DNF
- Javier Megias: DNF