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“He was in every counter attack at the end and he confirmed once again his good form by still finishing seventh after all that. It was a pity that he was isolated for the last 30 kilometers, but we all did our best."

Photo: Sirotti






15.04.2015 @ 19:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The cobblestone Classics ended last Sunday and today the 55th edition of the Brabantse Pijl signaled the start of the Ardennes Classics. Although the semi-classic race is void of the longer climbs seen in the Ardennes, it was far from flat with 26 climbs peppered in the 205.4-kilometer course that weaved its way from Leuven to Overijse.


It was perfectly suited to the punchy climbers and the uphill finish tailored to those with anything left in the tank after a brutal day of steep ups and downs.  In other words, it was a perfectly tuned to the red hot Fabio Felline.


The day began fast and numerous breakaways formed only to be doused by a picky peloton unwilling to let any big threat up the road. Finally a more controllable break of three was granted permission to ride after some 80 kilometers had been raced.  It all made for a blistering quick pace for the first few hours, adding to the already punishingparcours.


Inevitably, the trio was caught but with still 38-kilometers to the finish it just set off more attacks, which whittled out the weaker riders and left a skeleton peloton to fight out a tactical ending.


With no teammates left in the lead peloton Fabio Felline was forced to take the race in hand, and he quickly jumped into a few dangerous chase groups that formed in the final 15 kilometers in pursuit of two leading riders. 


“Fabio was our only card to play today,” explained director Dirk Demol. “We had three guys (Danny van Poppel, Gert Steegmans and Jasper Stuyven) that had done Paris-Roubaix and today they were tired. It was Kristof’s [Vandewalle] first race back after being sick, and Fumy [Beppu], who has not raced much this year, plus Calvin [Watson] did their best, but under the circumstances it was difficult to be there at the end to help Fabio in the finale. I can say everyone did his best, and it was not for lack of effort.”


In the end, Ben Hermans (BMC) shook off his partner to solo in for the win while behind all late attacks were snuffed and it was a small group that arrived moments later to sprint for the minor places.


Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) easily took second and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) rounded out the top three. 


Fabio Felline finished in seventh, a good result after he was isolated in a tough, tactical finale.


“I tried to go in the late breakaways, but then all were caught back. It was a really strange race – super fast, and a tactical game at the end. My sprint was not super, but oh well, I did all I could today. I have to say thank you to the team – they stayed around me all race; they were incredible," Felline said.

“There wasn't one key moment that stands out because at the end there were so many key moments. I tried to take my chance in a breakaway but it didn’t work out. It was just hard and fast all day. Now I am looking forward to the next race - Amstel Gold - on Sunday.”


Director Dirk Demol applauded Felline after the race:


“Fabio did a great race! He has been our best rider this season,” Demol added. “He was in every counter attack at the end and he confirmed once again his good form by still finishing seventh after all that. It was a pity that he was isolated for the last 30 kilometers, but we all did our best. We are in good shape for Sunday.”



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