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RadioShack’s Sébastien Rosseler won Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl out of a three-man breakaway in Belgium.
Rosseler, a winner of RadioShack’s first win in 2010 with a stage at the Volta ao Algarve in February, out-kicked Thomas De Gendt (Topsport-Vlaanderen) and former Quick Step teammate Jurgen Van de Walle to claim the mid-week semi-classic.
“I really didn’t think I was the strongest in the race. At first, my legs felt terrible,” Rosseler said. “I did my fair share of the work in the break, but not too much. I had bad luck during the spring classics, so this helps to make up for it.”
Rosseler did not finish Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, but his victory in the closing event of the cobblestoned classics gives him his second win of 2010.
The leading trio was up the road when Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma), Thomas Voeckler (BBox) and Paul Martens (Rabobank) tried in vain to bridge across, but left it too late, crossing the line 42 seconds behind. Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) was seventh at 46 seconds back.
““When we saw that the break got 8 minutes and 40 seconds, I started to believe in a happy ending,” RadioShack director Dirk Demol said. “The chase behind by other teams was never well organized. Séba had some difficulties in the end, but that bad moment passed. I told him to stay in the back the last kilometer.
“We knew that the last 200 meters suited him well,” Demol added. “The only unknown factor was that young rider from Topsport Vlaanderen (Leukemans). He appeared to be very dangerous in the end.”
Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won the bunch sprint ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) at 55 seconds back.
The victory in the Brabantse Pijl is the eighth but nicest professional victory for Rosseler.
“He deserved this,” said Demol. “I told Séba to believe in it. This is a big compensation for everything that went wrong for him in the classics so far. When you don’t expect such a victory, it is twice as nice.”
Brabantse Pijl is the unofficial closing of the cobblestoned classics as action switches to the hillier courses in the Ardennes, starting Sunday with the Amstel Gold Race.