The last test for some ahead of Paris – Roubaix on Sunday. A mix of Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant, almost the best of both worlds! The circuit remains the same and we have a stacked field here. The finale starts quite early – when they hit the circuit with 84 km left.
Lap around Overijse.
A little bug regarding Moskeestraat, but five climbs on the circuit, which is raced 3.5 times. It is hard, with Moske
It is the most important climb of the race. Tight roads, and just brutally steep towards the top. In the last two years, the decisive move has been made here with 1.5 laps left (around 30-35 km out).
Uphill finish in Overijse
I’m not sure why, but I think the weather in Belgium has been too good this spring compared to what I can remember. There will be 17 degrees around Overijse tomorrow. There could be a few drops in the finale, but nothing major. Almost no wind at all.
How will the race unfold?
I think it is fair to say the decisive move is made on Moskesstraat. This year, the second to last ascend is with 32.4 km left, similar to the last two editions.
In 2020, Mathieu van der Poel and Alaphilippe got away over the top here and worked together after Ztybar set it up perfectly. Later joined by Cosnefroy, Colbrelli and Fraile. I think Kwiatkowski made it too after having bridged from the peloton. Last time, Alaphilippe, MvdP and Cosnefroy made it over and sprinted for the win. Alaphilippe won because MvdP did a Pogacar-sprint.
In 2021, Pidcock kicked it off with 38 km to go on Hertstraat with Trentin glued to his wheel and Wout van Aert joining too. Teuns and Cosnefroy tried to bridge on the last Moskesstraat but did not quite make it. In the finale, we saw Pidcock outsprinting Wout van Aert by quite a margin.
I will still go with Moskesstraat, second to last time, being the key point. Who can make it, the first time a favorite attacks?
I think G1 will look like this: Teuns, Cosnefroy, Pidcock & Alaphilippe.
I think G2 will look like this: Evenepoel, Kwiatkowski, (Turner), Hirschi, (Ayuso), (Tratnik), Matthews & Campenaerts. Riders in () depends on team duty.
If that scenario holds true, then Evenepoel and Kwiatkowski (& Turner) and Tratnik will not work behind. I think it will be one of the riders in G1 that will take the win. If it comes back together, good luck following Evenepoel’s attack. This also means attacks will be canceled and if the riders without anyone out front bring it back, they will not have the energy to follow the next move.
Pidcock – has an incredible strong team. Kwiatkowski took a win in Amstel Gold Race which means the morale is high within the team too. He looked very comfortable on Sunday, and important to note it was Kwiatkowski working for him on Keutenberg and not the other way around, in case you missed it. On Keutenberg, he still breathed through his nose in Amstel Gold Race. He has the best team and he has won here before.
Alaphilippe is my go-to man for Quick-Step. With Evenepoel here, you never know where the main move is gonna go, but if it is Moskesstraat, then Alaphilippe should be better than Evenepoel. Interesting team with Bagioli, Vansevenant, Cavagna, Ballerini and Devenyns too. Perhaps the strongest team here. It will be interesting to see what they will do. Alaphilippe won here back in 2020.
Cosnefroy looked very good on Sunday too. He is consistent in this race, with a 3rd in 2020 and 8th in 2021. Last year, he was the best of the rest (Wout van Aert, Trentin and Pidcock). Given his strong ride in Amstel Gold Race and Circuit Cycliste Sarthe – Pays de la Loire, he should aim for another podium result here. The main thing with him is not his level, it is very high. He often works too hard for his own good, which has cost him a few victories by now.
Teuns with a strong ride in Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race. He is at his very best level. I think Bahrain will have a better chance to take a win tomorrow due to Tratnik. Already mentioned in Amstel Gold Race, he is in good form. He had a mechanical just before Keutenberg on Sunday but almost managed to bridge from G2 to G1. Interestingly enough, Bahrain-Victorious has made Tratnik their protected leader for tomorrow. It gives them two good cards to play.
Evenepoel is the bookies favorite. Sure, his form is good but I wonder if he is a bit tired after Basque Country, it was a hard effort. I just wonder where he will attack. I think it will be before Moskesstraat on the second to last lap. It means we will have some riders in front unless he is alone which I highly doubt. I have a hard time seeing a solo win tomorrow, therefore he is not my favorite.
Hirschi is getting better too. Amstel Gold Race was well raced by him and he was one of the strongest. With Ayuso with him here, I think they could have two cards to play in the finale. I think there are too few climbing meters for them both here to challenge for the win.
Matthews is also in good shape but he will be alone in the finale. It is a huge disadvantage he has most one-day races he starts.
Tratnik – already mentioned. He needs to win alone too, something I find difficult.
Kwiatkowski & Turner, I think it will be all in for Pidcock, but if they have three cards, they know how to play the cards they are dealt.