The final rise: Brabantse Pijl

The precursor to the upcoming Ardennes races is tomorrow's semi-classic, Branbantse Pijl. It always is fast and has lots of action with 26 hills (hellingen) to tackle. The final circuit will be testing consisting of 5 climbs contested three times. Throw in narrow roads, steep climbs/descents  a challenging day for teams to control. Having a fruitful classics season, it's hard not to go for two-time champion Philippe Gilbert. He's in great form since joining the Belgian super team Quick Step Floors this winter and highly motivated for more classic success. The final Schavei climb will be the perfect launch pad for Phil Gil but look out for these guys to also challenge: Sean de Bie, Tim Wellens of Lotto Soudal, Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie), Petr Vakoc (2016 champion, Quick Step), Daryl Impey and Jens Keukeleire (Orica Scott).