De Brabantse Pijl: Elisa Longo Borghini drops Demi Vollering and storms to victory

Lidl-Trek get the better of SD Worx-Protime, with Italian champion able to go solo and distance Dutch champion on the penultimate climb

Clock12:32, Wednesday 10th April 2024
The moment the race was won

© Getty Images

The moment the race was won

Elisa Longo Borghini of Lidl-Trek got the better of SD Worx-Protime's Demi Vollering after a memorable dual at Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday afternoon. The Italian national champion made a blistering attack on the penultimate climb to drop Vollering, before soloing to the line in Overijse alone.

For much of the final 20km, it looked as though Vollering and Longo Borghini might go to the line together and contest a two-up sprint, but those expectations were dashed by the 32-year-old, who soared clear to win her first Brabantse Pijl title.

It was the Italian's first race since winning the Tour of Flanders and confirming that she would be skipping Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift in favour of her preparation for the Ardennes Classics. 10 days on from Flanders, Longo Borghini's decision appeared to be more than vindicated with a devastating ride that tees up an exciting rivalry between herself and Vollering heading into Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

FDJ-SUEZ's Alessia Vigilia, meanwhile, is worthy of a mention for her brave ride that saw the Italian join Vollering and Longo Borghini in a three-up move. The 24-year-old was ultimately dropped but not before producing a career-best performance.

Behind Longo Borghini, Vollering rode strongly to the finish to claim second place some 41 seconds back, whilst Alexandra Manly (Liv AlUla Jayco) won the sprint for third place behind.

"It was a very strong team performance again and we showed it in Flanders. Today we really wanted to have a kind of open race and we planned an attack at 85km to go with team, then we did it again on the Moskesstraat," Longo Borghini said after the finish.

"This victory is for my husband Jacopo [Mosca]. He is on the Teide [Volcano] training and I hope to see him very soon. [It is dedicated] for a silly reason. His name is Mosca and today we were going on the 'Mosca-sstraat'. We were joking a little bit with this pun. In the end, it was his climb."

How the race unfolded

Defined by a circuit around Overijse, De Brabantse Pijl carefully links the cobbled Classics to the Ardennes Classics each spring. Combining both cobblestones and tough, leg-biting climbs, this race is a perfect middle-ground between Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift and the Ardennes trio: Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

In a morning of multiple attacks, some riders were successful in hitting out from the pack whilst others, Sophie Wright (Fenix-Deceuninck) and Stina Kagevi (Coop-Repsol) included, made efforts with little reward.

The first riders to develop a true gap were the trio of Coryn Labecki (EF Education-Cannondale), Karin Söderqvist (Lifeplus Wahoo) and Laura Molenaar (VolkerWessels Women's Pro Cycling), who went clear on the approach to the Eigenbrakelsesteenweg. They were later joined by Emily Watts (Chevalmeire), Alessia Vigilia (FDJ-SUEZ) and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ).

Throughout the day, SD Worx-Protime and Lidl-Trek remained keen to drive a tough pace at the front of the peloton, on behalf of their respective leaders Demi Vollering and Elisa Longo Borghini. Vollering herself made sporadic digs in a bid to whittle down the group of contenders.

Their efforts were later rewarded over the Moskesstraat, as the pair bridged over to the breakaway which by now had lost Söderqvist and Watts from their number. Two in, two out, the six-rider front group was soon spearheaded by Vollering and Longo Borghini inside the final 25km, as their teammates yielded responsibility behind.

In the peloton, FDJ-SUEZ began to scramble their numbers, no doubt informed by Vigilia out front that her legs would be no match for her breakaway companions. Sensing that the 20-second gap to the peloton behind was closing, Vollering launched a devastating attack on the S-Bocht Overijse and, to much surprise, Vigilia tracked the back wheel of the Dutch national champion and that of Longo Borghini.

With 20km and one lap to ride, Vollering, Vigilia and Longo Borghini had a significant gap over the AG Insurance-Soudal-led peloton, with Vigilia producing a career performance to remain tacked onto the front group. With Vollering and Longo Borghini working in unison, Vigilia was finally cracked on the final ascent of the Moskesstraat.

Just a few kilometres later, however, it was Vollering who was distanced as Longo Borghini burst clear on the Holstheide. With 7.6km to go, the Italian national champion had hit out for home and was not to be caught again.

For the latest news, interviews and analysis from the world of professional cycling, be sure to check out the Racing tab on the GCN website and visit our essential guide to The Spring Classics to stay up to date with all of the action from cycling's most exciting season.

Race Results

1

it flag

LONGO BORGHINI Elisa

Lidl-Trek

3H 26' 18"

2

nl flag

VOLLERING Demi

Team SD Worx-Protime

+ 41"

3

au flag

MANLY Alexandra

Liv AlUla Jayco

+ 1' 06"

4

nl flag

GERRITSE Femke

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

5

nl flag

VAN ANROOIJ Shirin

Lidl-Trek

"

6

nl flag

KRAAK Amber

FDJ-SUEZ

"

7

it flag

CIABOCCO Eleonora

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL

"

8

be flag

GHEKIERE Justine

AG Insurance-Soudal Team

"

9

nl flag

KASTELIJN Yara

Fenix-Deceuninck

"

10

be flag

VANPACHTENBEKE Margot

VolkerWessels Women's Pro Cycling Team

"

Provided by FirstCycling

Major Races

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