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Sonny Colbrelli shines at Brabantse Pijl

2017-04-13_BrabantsePijl Colbrelli winner_bettiniphoto.jpg

Sonny Colbrelli shines at Brabantse Pijl

The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM showed a strong performance at the Belgian semi-classic Brabantse Pijl. Sonny Colbrelli was in a particularly good condition: In the final hour of the race, the spring specialist made the jump into a lead group. From there, he kept his cool and sprinted to his second win of the season with relative ease.

The Belgian semi-classic Brabantse Pijl may not be part of the UCI Worldtour. But since the race is still ranked on the 1.HC level the start list still featured a lot of well-known riders. The same goes for the list of winners of recent editions that includes names such as Peter Sagan and Philippe Gilbert. In the race calendar, this event signals the change from the cobblestone races to the more hilly races in the Ardennes. The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM went into this race over 197 kilometres and 26 steep ascents with Sonny Colbrelli as its designated captain and Enrico Gasparotto as the option for plan B.

Early on in the race a group of five riders got away and built a maximum lead of seven minutes. But this lead group never got away too far as many teams in the peloton were anxious to keep their captains out of any possible trouble. As a consequence, the attackers were reeled in before the final hour of racing started. With forty kilometres to go thirteen riders managed to leave the peloton behind, and the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM got rewarded for its attentive racing: With Sonny Colbrelli and Grega Bole it had two riders in the newly formed lead group, and Colbrelli clearly was the strongest sprinter in that group.

The gap between the group and the peloton never grew any bigger than 30 seconds, and at times it looked as if the thirteen riders would be caught again. In this situation Sonny Colbrelli ostentatiously took the lead, performing his due share in the work at hand to keep the lead group out of reach of the peloton. Throughout the final fifteen kilometres, some riders tried to avoid a sprint decision by attacking early, and some of the attackers lost contact on the final five kilometres. At the same time, two strong riders managed to bridge from the peloton to the lead group with Tim Wellens and Petr Vakoc, making the task at hand not a bit easier for Colbrelli.

But Sonny Colbrelli kept his cool, did not let the Quick Step team use its power in numbers to outmanoeuvre him and placed his acceleration from Vakoc’s wheel at the exact right time. Thus he crossed the finish line multiple bicycle lengths ahead of his rivals, celebrating his second win of the season - the third for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. «That was a tough race today, and we had to work really hard to stay out of reach of the peloton», Sonny Colbrelli commented before the podium ceremony. «I’m very happy to have won this race, all the more so as the Quick Step team tried all it could in the finale. This was the best possible preparation for the Amstel Gold Race, both for me and the entire team.»

57TH BRABANTSE PIJL: LEUVEN - OVERIJSE, 197KM
1. SONNY COLBRELLI, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, IN 4:44.22 HOURS
2. PETR VAKOC, CZE, ST
3. TIESJ BENOOT, BEL, ST
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