Brabantse Pijl: Kristian Sbaragli holds on to top 20

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Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) went on to win the 55th Brabantse Pijl after a strong ride over the final 35km of the race. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both Kristian Sbaragli and Serge Pauwels involved in the business end of the race. Kristian would end the race in 18th place.

The Belgian victor would go on the attack with David Tanner (IAM Cycling) after the initial 3 attackers of the day were caught around the 40km to go mark. The duo would keep a 25″ lead over the peloton for the majority of their time out front while a number of attacks and counter attacks whittled the peloton down significantly on the tough 23km finishing circuit that included 5 hellingen.

Serge was seen to be putting in a strong ride at the head of the race, following all the dangerous moves and even launching a few counters of his own in the final 30km of the race. Kristian constantly stayed in the wheels of the favourites, hoping that the leading pair would soon falter and be reeled in for a small group sprint. It was only Tanner who would fade though as Hermans went solo at 4km to go and with 11 seconds to play with.

The main group was down to less than 25 riders with just the final 2 climbs to go and with no team having the numbers to organise a chase, it was down to individuals trying to jump across to the lone leader. Even Kristian tried his luck but to no avail, nobody would succeed and Hermans just held on to take an impressive win over Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge), Phillip Gilbert (BMC Racing) rounded out the podium.

Serge Pauwels – Rider
We wanted to race aggressively in the final today so I went with some of the moves in the last lap. Kristian and Youcef could save their energy a bit more in case the race ended in a sprint. I was happy that we were able to execute our plan and be competitive and present in the finale of the race.

Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
The legs felt okay today but I was without any water in the final 20km which became a problem as started to not feel so good in the final. I tried to go early before the sprint with 3 other guys but unluckily the gap was closed so my legs were no longer fresh enough for the final hill. 

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