Women’s Brabantse Pijl 2024 Race Preview

Silvia Persico Brabantse Pijl 2023

Women’s Brabantse Pijl History

In recent editions, the Women’s Brabantse Pijl has been notably shaped by the performances of Demi Vollering. The Dutch cyclist first saw her early celebration in 2021 turn into a memorable moment when Ruth Winder snatched victory by the narrowest margin in a dramatic finish line photo. Intent on redemption, Vollering returned with determination the following year, breaking away to cross the finish line solo, thereby eliminating any chance of a repeat of the previous year’s mishap.

Brabantse Pijl occupies a unique position in the cycling calendar, acting as a transition between the cobbled classics and the Ardennes classics. It marks the point where the focus shifts from the flatter, cobbled courses to more undulating terrains that favour climbers and puncheurs. The Moskesstraat, a climb notorious for its challenging ascent and its inclusion in the 2021 Flanders World Championships, is a key feature of the race. Previously known for its treacherously uneven surface that often caused riders to dismount, the climb was resurfaced ahead of the World Championships, making it a tough yet smoother challenge for the competitors.

The 2023 edition added a new champion to the Women’s Brabantse Pijl with Silvia Persico emerging victorious. Her victory is particularly notable for how it was achieved, outsprinting Demi Vollering and Liane Lippert to the line having gone clear in a small group late on.

Previous Winners

2023
Silvia Persico
2022
Demi Vollering
2021
Ruth Edwards

Women’s Brabantse Pijl 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Wednesday 10th April 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery across Europe
Pickx is also showing the race without geo-restrictions
Flobikes in USA/Canada

11:30am-1:30pm
All times in BST

Twitter:#DBP24 OR #BrabantsePijl

Startlist: FirstCycling

Women’s Brabantse Pijl 2024 Contenders

Last year’s winner feels like a good place to start in Silvia Persico. The Italian was in great form this time last year and properly knocking on the door of a big win, which she finally got here. For me, she’s been a little bit behind that so far in 2024 with some good results along the way but they’re nearer the bottom of the top-10. What will be encouraging for her is the Tour of Flanders result of 7th recently. She was in the main chase group behind the lead trio and in the hunt for a really strong result there. Teammates Sofia Bertizzolo and Eleonora Gasparrini will be useful if this comes down to a small group sprint but there are question marks about their form recently too with neither finishing in the top-10 since January.

SD Worx should be behind their obvious leader Demi Vollering here. She just missed out in 2021 on the line with her arm in the air to celebrate but put that right with the win in 2022. She was 2nd as well last season when she didn’t have an answer to the sprint of Persico. It’s really hard to not tip a rider who has been 2nd or 1st in each of the last 3 seasons in a race. Teammate Mischa Bredewold is steadily improving here and was 10th in last year’s Brabantse Pijl. She will have a Reusser-esque supporting role to play. Blanka Vas will also be worth keeping an eye on thanks to her sprint. It’s her first UCI level road race of the 2024 season after a nice warm-up 5th place in the non-UCI Volta NXT Classic recently.

Lidl-Trek doesn’t have the strongest past record here with the 5th place last year by Shirin van Anrooij the best result of those on the startlist for this year’s edition. Elisa Longo Borghini hasn’t raced Brabantse Pijl since 2016 but after winning the Tour of Flanders will certainly have plenty of confidence coming into this one. It’ll be a similar case for Van Anrooij after she made the podium there and whilst she doesn’t have a win yet this season that feels increasingly likely. There will be support from Gaia Realini and Amanda Spratt too but whilst the Aussie has a good profile for this one, she’s never finished higher than 24th in 5 editions. The fast finish also won’t suit Realini who will be looking ahead to other targets in the Ardennes.

Mavi Garcia
Mavi Garcia

Mavi Garcia will be using this race as a springboard into the Ardennes classics and has been so-so since finishing 3rd at the UAE Tour. We’ve seen her on the attack plenty but just seems to be missing that punch to really go clear in those moves. As a result, she’s rolled the dice and finished a little bit further down the results than is ideal. Still, it’s better to do that than just roll in. She’s been 9th here in the past and she’d take that result again.

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has 3 top-10 finishes in 5 editions of Brabantse Pijl stretching back to 2016. She only just missed out on a 4th one last year in finishing 12th. We’ve hardly seen the South African it feels like this year so far with only 4 races in the books. One of those was a 2nd at Trofeo Palma Femina and we are just starting to enter a part of the season that really suits her. We will probably see Kim le Court continue her great Spring campaign. She took another Women’s WorldTour top-10 at Paris Roubaix Femmes last week and we’re likely to see her in the mix once more.
Sarah Gigante has come in to replace Le Court for Brabantse Pijl and will be a contender in her own right. We saw her race at Trofeo Alfredo Binda which saw her finish at the back of the front group after she’d taken a break post-Australian season. She’s been back doing miles and miles and could be in form again to challenge.

Movistar’s Olivia Baril has certainly impressed this season so far with 2 wins to her name and a host of strong results. We’ve not seen her race in almost a month when she was 7th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and she can be a contender here. She should manage the climbing fine but it’s the final sprint against a few others which might see her just struggle to get a really good result. Teammate Floortje Mackaij has a strong record here with 3rd and 5th places in the past. She’s not taken part since her podium in 2020 though but should get a chance to impress at this one, no doubt with an attacking move or two. You also can’t rule out Mareille Meijering after her GC and stage victory at the Vuelta Extremadura Feminas a few weeks ago. Clear with Gaia Realini, the Dutch rider hit out on her own on a decent to claim a famous win.

Ruth Edwards just beats Demi Vollering in 2021's Brabantse Pijl
Ruth Edwards just beats Demi Vollering in 2021's Brabantse Pijl

Ruth Edwards has been quite hard to pick so far this season but will feel confident coming into this once as the 2021 winner in the notorious finish with Demi Vollering. The American has mixed the highs of a podium at Trofeo Oro in Euro and 4th at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with a few races finishing in the 20s or a DNF or two recently. We’ve seen what she can do here before though mind. Teammates Yulia Biriukova and Silvia Zanardi represent good alternative options with the Ukranian Biriukova finishing 2nd at Clasica de Almeria this year and Silvia Zanardi well known for her ability to sprint after doing plenty of climbing.

FDJ-Suez will have a fun attacking twosome in Amber Kraak and Grace Brown. Kraak just took 5th at Paris Roubaix Femmes, finishing in the lead group and having a chance to win until the final corners of the velodrome. Her ability to deliver power is well-known this season after her win at the UAE Tour too. Grace Brown was unlucky to get a front wheel puncture at a crucial point at the weekend. It pretty much took her out of the running at a crucial point despite looking in a strong position until it happened. She won the 2020 Brabantse Pijl in her only edition of the race and wouldn’t mind keeping a 100% record.

This has the potential to be a Yara Kastelijn sort of race. With the repeated climbs, it suits what she can do even if it’s been a relatively quiet start to racing in 2024. 11th at Strade Bianche is her best result so far and there’s a good chance she can improve on that at Brabantse Pijl. Teammate Pauliena Rooijakkers might also be useful after scoring a pair of top-10s here in the past. She’s another rider who can go well on the climbs but her sprint will likely hold her back.

Josie Nelson
Josie Nelson

Neither Josie Nelson nor Francesca Barale has a good past record here for Team dsm-firmenich PostNL but their form is certainly good. Josie Nelson took an impressive stage win at the Tour de Normandie recently and only just missed out on a GC win by a single second. That came after scoring a podium at the GP Oetingen as well. For Barale, her recent result at Dwars Door Vlaanderen bodes well here where she finished 14th. She’s been feeling her way into the spring after a strong showing back in Australia.

Solbjørk Minke Anderson has been impressing in these non-WWT one-day races this year. Only 19, the Danish rider has top-10 results at Trofeo Oro in Euro and GP Oetingen and will be looking to carry that on here. Her teammate Mie Bjørndal Ottestad is racing for the first time since securing the GC win at the Tour de Normandie where she did just enough to claim it over Nelson thanks to the bonus seconds for finishing 3rd place on the last stage after a tough day out.

Veronica Ewers will be pinning a number on for the first time since the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana as the American looks to build for the Ardennes and Spain month coming up. She did ok in her one edition of Brabantse Pijl before but I’m thinking that EF Education-Cannondale will be getting behind Kim Cadzow here. The Kiwi had a fun time at Trofeo Ponente in Rosa, claiming a stage win and the overall GC as the pink team took control of that race. That came after finishing 5th in Trofeo Oro in Euro and is clearly a sign of some good form at the moment on the shorter climbs.

Women’s Brabantse Pijl 2024 Outsiders

Nikola Noskova
Nikola Noskova

Julie Bego has had a good start to life as an Elite rider. The junior world champion of 2023 took an impressive 4th at Trofeo Oro in Euro but has been seen often attacking in races this year. It bodes well for the French rider to continue to get strong results. Her teammate Nikola Noskova will suit the climbs here and has some top-10s already this year. 8th in GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana was strong and she supported Bego in her best result by taking 7th in that race too.

Margot Vanpachtenbeke was 7th here last season in the race which brought her to the attention of many more fans. Riding for VolkerWessels, the Belgian rider has been quieter so far in 2024 but there are highlights in 11th at Gent Wevelgem in what was a sprint finish and 18th in Omloop van het Hageland too. She has the potential to match last year’s result.

Tota Magalhães took Brazil’s best UCI result in a long while by finishing 3rd on the final day of the Trofeo Ponente in Rosa. On a rolling course that day, she was able to finish almost as the best of the rest as Kristen Faulkner won the day and 2nd place on GC. It’s a result that felt like it had been coming for a little while and hopefully a sign that more are on the way too.

Finally, we’ll get to see Sara Casasola race for Hess Cycling for the first time since crashing out of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in February. She’d been a stalwart of the cyclocross season, with a host of top-10s and a bronze medal in the European Championships too. It’ll be interesting to see what she can do on the road here.

Top 3 Prediction