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Brabantse Pijl: Tarmac Tuneup

Brabantse Pijl: The Basics

When: Sunday, 6am or so Pacific (supposedly)
Distance: 193km
Laps at Alsemberg: 5
Founded: 1961
Most wins: 4 (Edwig Van Hooydonck)
Most recent: Oscar Freire (3x)
Website: here, in English
Startlist: Here.
Broadcast: Cycling.TV (live); check for free options
Did you know? Belgian draft horses are sometimes called Brabants for their connection to the region. Do you hear me, Johan Van Summeren?

The Brabant Arrow is raced in the Flemish areas of the Brabant region east of Brussels... sort of where Flanders starts turning into Wallonia. Befitting of its geography, Brabantse Pilj doesn't feature much if any cobbles, and does feature some stiff climbing (a total of 19 ascents in the 2007 edition), not entirely unlike Liege-Bastogne-Liege. But not quite. Victory tends to alternate between speedy climbers and climby sprinters, with Oscar Freire's three straight wins a testament to who this course is made for.

The lineup: Freire, Flecha, Barredo, Kroon, Pozzato, Quinziato, Popovych, Ballan, Wegmann, Nuyens, Chavanel, Gilbert, Gasparotto. Enjoy!