Early breakaway survives and Van der Hoorn takes victory
The early breakaway survived a rainy 113th edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic. In the end it was Taco van der Hoorn who took the win on the Houba de Strooperlaan. Thimo Willems and Tobias Bayer joined the Dutchman on the podium.
In the pouring rain, the peloton sets off at 12:15 in the Cinquantenaire Park for the 113th edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic. After 16 km, the leading group of the day is formed: Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Welten (Groupama-FDJ), Bayer (Alpecin-Fenix), Laurance (B&B Hotels – KTM), Livyns (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), De Wilde & Herregodts (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Willems (Minerva Cycling Team) and Marchand (Tarteletto – Isorex). It is finally Wallays (Cofidis) who makes the crossing alone and thus completes the leading group of 10.
The race is locked for a long time. Meanwhile, Van Breussegem (Tarteletto – Isorex) went solo in the counter attack. The lead of the breakaway is now up to 8 minutes. After the first climb of the Wall, the peloton nibbles away at the lead of the cyclists and Van Breussegem’s counterattack comes to an end. He joins a group with Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers), Matthews (Team BikeExchange – Jayco), Hermans (Intermarche – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux) and Swift (Team Arkéa – Samsic) who broke away from the peloton on the Wall.
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On the Bosberg, Van Breussegem had to drop out of the chase group. Not much later the peloton regroups behind the front group of 10. On the Congoberg Wellens (Lotto Soudal) thinks his moment has come. He is joined by Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix), but De Gendt (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux) brings the rest back.
New accelerations follow at the second passage in Geraardsbergen. Wellens and Sheffield, who tried it before, want to make the race hard. With Vermeersch and Turner they both get a teammate along. Matthews and Vermeersch also join the chasers. The difference is a bit more than two minutes. In the peloton it is Team Arkéa – Samsic that leads the chase, which pays off. The two chasing groups reunite with 35km remaining.
At 17 km from the Houba de Strooper road the gap is still around one minute. At the front they are still riding well and on the Heiligekruiswegstraat Laurance and Wallays pay the bill for a day of attacking. Meanwhile, the winner seems to be at the front. Under the red flag, it is Van der Hoorn who attacks. Bayer goes along in the wheel of the Dutchman. Willems closes the gap and continues immediately. He takes a few meters and can smell victory. But just before the finish line, Van der Hoorn takes Willems by the horns and wins the 10th edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic. Tobias Bayer is third on the podium.