In today’s Daily News Digest: Wellens solos to victory at Brabantse Pijl, dedicates victory to Michael Goolaerts; Bastianelli wins first edition of women’s Brabantse Pijl; Autopsy confirms cardiac arrest caused Goolaerts’ Roubaix crash; Rémy Di Gregorio provisionally suspended for EPO; Five-time Flèche champion Valverde: ‘If I’m in the lead with 200 metres to go, it’s hard to beat me’; 100% launches Speedcraft Air to control nasal dilation; RockShox’s new TwistLoc brings remote lockout control to the grip; Fox boosts travel in its cross country platform with 34 Step-Cast 120mm fork.
Wellens, Bastianelli win a somber Brabantse Pijl: Daily News Digest
Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) soloed to victory at Brabantse Pijl Wednesday in Overijse, Belgium, following an attack at 8km to go that went unmatched. Last year’s winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) won the bunch sprint for second, nine seconds behind Wellens, followed by Wellens’ teammate, Tiesj Benoot.
“It was the plan to let the race explode as early as possible, because we had such a strong lineup,” Wellens said. “Maxime Monfort raised the pace on the local circuit and that caused the peloton to split. It was our plan to send a rider in the break afterwards and that was the case with Tosh Van der Sande. I thought for a while that they would remain ahead as there was not immediately a team that took control of the chase. When they got caught, Jelle Vanendert accelerated as I had asked. He did that perfectly. I attacked on a section with a slight headwind. I had to fight at first to get a gap, but when Pauwels and Serry came off the front my lead grew up to 25 seconds.”
— De Brabantse Pijl (@DeBrabantsePijl) April 11, 2018
Following the final ascent of the Schavei climb to the finish, Wellens had time to zip up his jersey and point to the sky, dedicating the victory to fallen Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts, who passed away Sunday after suffering cardiac arrest at Paris-Roubaix. “The victory moment was for Michael,” he said. “I didn’t want to celebrate. I didn’t know him very well, but it’s very bad that it happened.”
Wellens added that the win was a positive sign for the upcoming Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “There are four chances, and today was first of the four,” he said. “This race is not on the same level as the others, but this race, being in Belgium, is very important to the team.”