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46th Brabantse Pijl - 1.1

Belgium, March 26, 2006

Power climbers get a chance

By Jeff Jones

2005 winner Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
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Sunday's 46th edition of the Brabantse Pijl will see a different type of rider in action compared with Saturday's E3 Prijs. With no real cobbles to contend with and some slightly longer climbs, the Brabantse Pijl suits the climbers who can sprint, and the sprinters who can climb. The past winners include Oscar Freire, Luca Paolini, Michael Boogerd (twice), Johan Museeuw (three times), and Michele Bartoli. It's typically a fast, selective race, with the final decision made on the last climb of the Alsemberg up to the finish line.

Freire will wear number one this year, hoping for some more success, as Rabobank has been in the wars lately. Paolini will line up for Liquigas-Bianchi, aiming for a repeat of 2004, when he won.

CSC will pin its hopes on the fresh legs of Karsten Kroon and Kurt-Asle Arvesen, while Davitamon-Lotto will look to the climbing legs of Wim Van Huffel or maybe Bj÷rn Leukemans to make an impression. Quick.Step has a different team to the E3 Prijs, with Serge Baguet, Nick Nuyens and CÚdric Vasseur in the line up.

Lampre-Fondital's Alessandro Ballan rode a great E3 to finish second behind Tom Boonen, but that might have taken it out of him for Sunday's race. Normally, he would be a rider suited to this type of parcours. Unibet.com has climbers Luis Pasamontes and Angel Castresana, while Frederik Veuchelen will start for Chocolade Jacques.

The race consists of a 110 km loop between Zaventem and Alsemberg followed by five laps of a tough, 16 km circuit. Each lap features the climbs of the Alsemberg, Bruineput and Lindenberg, and the peloton gets thinner as the laps progress. There are 19 climbs in total and the final climb is 1.2 km long.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of the 46th Brabantse Pijl, starting 14:30 local time (CEST)/08:30 (USA East)/05:30 (USA West)/23:30 (Australia East).