Hermans Wins De Brabantse Pijl15. April 2015, Overijse (BEL) — Road Team
Ben Hermans soloed to his first victory for the BMC Racing Team Wednesday at De Brabantse Pijl as teammate and defending champion Philippe Gilbert finished third.
Hermans attacked fellow breakaway companion David Tanner (IAM Cycling) with less than four kilometers remaining in the 205.4-km race. With runner-up Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) furiously leading the chase, Hermans still had enough time to thrust both arms in the air to celebrate the team's sixth victory of the season and his first win since 2011.
"I was very scared," Hermans said. "You don't have too many possibilities to win the race in this way, especially if you are not explosive and don't have the sprint like Philippe. I was in a good position there and I had to push all the watts I had. Luckily it was enough."
As Matthews finished runner-up for the second straight year, Gilbert was smiling broadly as he stood on the podium with his teammate after earning his second third-place result of the year.
"I told Ben he deserves this," Gilbert said. He is always working for the team. When you have someone like this and they win, it is always nice
Hermans and Tanner had been away since attacking with 33 km to go after the last two riders from the day's breakaway were hauled in. The leading pair's advantage see-sawed: from 20 seconds with 30 km to go, down to 14 seconds with 20 km to go and back up to 18 seconds with 10 km to go. It peaked at 33 seconds with 5 km left.
"I think the race was pretty hard in the beginning, but I was going good in the wheels and saving energy," Hermans said. "I have done this race several times and suffered more in the beginning, so I knew I was good. I also told Philippe that if I have to go in a counter attack, you need to tell me – or if I have to make the race hard. Luckily, it turned out good. Everything was in the right place for me to win the race."
Hermans' victory was his first since joining the BMC Racing Team last year and the third of his professional career. It is his first win since capturing Trofeo Inca in February of 2011, with his other victory coming in a stage of the Tour of Belgium in 2010.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said he was pleased to see a well-executed plan come together as a result of solid teamwork. Joining Gilbert and Hermans on the squad were Damiano Caruso, Silvan Dillier, Campbell Flakemore, Amaël Moinard, Manuel Senni and Dylan Teuns.
"It is a little bit like last year – settling into the second part of the classics with a good victory," Sciandri said. "And we had good teamwork. It was something we saw in a great way today. Having Philippe behind really helped Ben to be able to stay there. The plan was to make it hard. I had Damiano and Ben on the last lap-and-a-half or two laps really open the race up because for us, the harder the race, the better. It worked out well."
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