INEOS’ Magnus Sheffield, all of 19 years old, sauntered away from the leading group inside the final 5km to win Brabantse Pijl by himself. Sheffield, looking like the strongest rider in the group regardless, was just one of INEOS’ three possible cards to play in the finale, with Ben Thomas and Tom Pidcock, the defending winner, lying in wait. Chasers such as Tim Wellens, Benoit Cosnefroy and Remco Evenepoel had little to gain from bringing Pidcock up to the line, and Sheffield had the power to stay comfortably away, winning with nobody in the picture.
Sheffield, from outside Rochester, New York, becomes the first ever American to win Brabantse Pijl. Only two other Americans can claim a Cobbled Classic, with Tyler Farrar the Scheldeprijs winner in 2010 and George Hincapie having won Gent-Wevelgem in 2001. Sheffield is so young that he hardly has any junior palmares to suggest his future form, but he took his first pro win at the Ruta del Sol, showing why INEOS were so anxious to promote him to the World Tour already.
This is a huge moment for American cycling. Along with Neilson Powless (25) winning the Clasica San Sebastian, the country can say it’s a part of the classics again for the first time since Farrar’s retirement. As for Sheffield, his victory comes six days before his 20th birthday. That actually makes him the second youngest winner, after Ludo Janssens, who shares the same April 19 birthday, won in 1962 a week earlier and farther out from turning 20.
Benoit Cosnefroy finished second. Tim Wellens crossed the line for third but was relegated for moving off his line in the sprint, which caused Evenepoel to howl with displeasure. Warren Barguil was awarded third place.
Lennik - Overijse 141.2 km / Leuven - Overijse 204.8 km
Double feature in the Brabant. Both 1.Pro races. Both gloriously hilly and leg sapping.
Expected finish: 14:15 - 14:35 / 17:20 - 17:55 CEST
Good eggs overijse of the Day: Demi Vollering & Marc Hirschi
One has revenge to claim, the other rides for UAE. You do the 2022 math.