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by Mark Zalewski
April 13, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Colbrelli wins De Brabantse Pijl; Cavendish diagnosed with mononucleosis from Epstein Barr; Two riders on Czech Continental team test positive, possible team sanction; British Cycling independent review report release delayed again; Wout van Aert to race all the Spring Classics?; In memory of Mike Hall, the man who inspired a world of cyclists; Dibben ‘finished’ Paris-Roubaix despite time cut; No more hippies and explorers: a lament for the changed world of cycling; Could financial problems in Bahrain affect team?; Pon Holdings looking to acquire Accell Group; E-bike legislation signed into law in Colorado; Video: Night Riders by Racing Club; Track Cycling: What is the Omnium?
Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) outsprinted a select group in the finale of De Brabantse Pijl to take the win ahead of defending champ Petr Vakoc (Quick-Step Floors) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), just as the lead group was about to be caught by the peloton.
“The sprint I thought I’d lose as I was a bit trapped against the barriers, but in the last 100 metres it was good,” Colbrelli told Sporza. “Yes, I was nervous because I thought that the group would catch us. I’m really happy with this victory. This is good for the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.”
There were a lot of attacks all day, particularly in the final 30km of the race. That is when a the final move went with nine riders from many of the top teams, though the riders quickly began arguing with each other with some believing others were not pulling their share — in particular Colbrelli upset with the Quick-Step Floors riders hanging on the back. Despite this enough of the top teams were represented in the group and they still had around 25 seconds with 5km to go as they hit the first of the final two climbs.
Back in the peloton an attack on the first of those two climbs came from Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) with the defending champ Petr Vacok (Quick-Step Floors) playing the team role, marking the move as team leader Gilbert waited behind. This caused the gap to halve and the leaders finally started to work together more, but with Quick-Step Floors enjoying the numbers game and Vacok getting a free ride across to the lead group. The pair made the junction at the start of the finish climb and Vacok immediately attacked. That was quickly countered by Christopher Juul-Jensen (ORICA-Scott). Vacok recovered as his teammate Dries Devenyns lead the group, while the others waited behind, all looking at Colbrelli and trying to pin him against the barriers. And it was for good reason as the Italian eventually found his way out from the bad position, and won by a comfortable length.
“The team did it perfectly, we were in the breakaway and had Philippe [behind],” said Vakoc. “Devenyns had done the the sprint preparation perfectly — I knew there was wind and wanted to wait as long as possible, but Colbrelli was stronger.”