Silvia Persico finished off Brabantse Pijl with a victory, beating the dominant SD Worx team and rivals like Liane Lippert. The Italian rider on UAE Team ADQ was the fastest at the uphill finish in Overijse today, holding off the challenges from her rivals with a well-timed finish. Last year’s winner Demi Vollering had to settle for 2nd place ahead of Lianne Lippert.
A race of transition between the cobbles and the hills of the Ardennes, the Moskesstraat provided some of the climbs reminiscent of Flanders but not quite as tough. Their relentlessness and repeated ascents today successfully broke up the race. An early attack from Alica Palazzi held the peloton at bay but even the power of Lauren Stephens who bridged over couldn’t keep it clear. The likes of Nathalie Bex, Maria Novolodskaya and Cristina Tonetti all launched their own attacks.
Fem van Empel, in a rare race on the road, was very unlucky. A slowing and stopping saw her drop and have to come back and then a poorly-timed dropped chain nulled her chances. We didn’t get to see what she could do today but also the unfortunate incidents mean it’s tough to really pull out any information for how she might fare in the Ardennes.
Plenty of attacks from Trek, Canyon SRAM and SD Worx helped to thin out the bunch but the elastic didn’t snap until quite late on. Finally, a group did go clear which contained Van Anrooij, Reusser, Chabbey, Persico and the surprising inclusion of Margot Vanpachtenbeke of Parkhotel Valkenburg. Their gap sat at 30 seconds until the Moskesstraat where it came down enough for Vollering to attack the climb and bridge over, bringing Liane Lippert with her. With the numerical advantage restored, SD Worx was able to use Marlen Reusser to try and soften up the others in the group.
That allowed Demi Vollering to rest in the group heading into the finish. It was an uphill sprint with the chasing group now visible behind. Margot Vanpachtenbeke took the front, making sure of her top-10 result here. Demi Vollering launched her sprint but it proved to be too early in this year’s race and she had to settle for 2nd behind the winner Silvia Persico. Lippert was not far behind in 3rd with a small gap back to Elise Chabbey and Shirin van Anrooij.
“She was very strong on the road, so I chose her wheel. Because I know you can win this sprint in the last 20 or 30 meters, luckily we succeeded in the last 30 metres. That’s why I’m really happy with this win. The team was also strong today. Now that I win here, I hope this is the start of a great season.
After my stage victory in the Vuelta a España last year, this is one of my biggest victories. And I hope I can show great things for the rest of the season. Today I really wanted to win, because after my fourth place in the Tour of Flanders I was not happy. That’s why I wanted to win as soon as possible.”Silvia Persico
2023 Women’s Brabantse Pijl result
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