• Mitcheltonn-Scott's Grace Brown wins the 5th Brabantse Pijl Dames. (Velo)Source: Velo
Australian and Mitchelton-Scott rider Grace Brown has stormed home to win the 2020 Brabantse Pijl Dames solo, attacking with 17 kilometres left in the race to cross the finish line in first place.
By
SBS Cycling Central

8 Oct 2020 - 10:53 AM 

The 28-year-old went one better than her second-place finish in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as her long-range attack ensured she finished solo as Team Sunweb pair Liane Lippert and Floortje Mackaij joined her on the podium in second and third respectively. Fourth place Lotte Kopecky took out the reduced bunch sprint.

Australian Grace Brown shines on Liège–Bastogne–Liège debut
Australian Grace Brown has launched a determined counter-attack but was unable to reel in winner Lizzie Deignan as she finished second at the 135km Liège–Bastogne–Liège cycling classic in Belgium, her first appearance at the prestigious race.
Brown powers to TT fifth at world champs
Australian Grace Brown was the only Australian starter in the elite women's world championships time trial and produced a superb ride for fifth overall, a minute and one second behind winner Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands).

The Aussie expressed her excitement at securing the win in the fifth edition of the women's race, noting the progress she had made from the previous week's competition.

“It is pretty exciting to cross the line first for my first time in Europe. I took confidence from Sunday into today’s race and I think that really helped me. I have made a bit of a jump in this last week which is really cool," Brown said.

“On that final lap I just saw an opportunity when girls where attacking and there was a bit of confusion and I just decided to attack and go for it."

The demanding race exploded with just under 50 km to go as a breakaway formed with Margarita Victoria Garcia Cañellas (Ale' BTC Ljubljana) and Katia Ragusa (Astana Women's Team) leading the charge, however the pair were reeled in by Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo riders with 39km left on one of the many cobbled climbs that tested the peloton.

Sunweb surged again on the Holstheide until US national road champion Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) powered ahead just at the peak of the climb, reducing the lead group to 25 riders before another powerful attack from Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) with around 29 km left, carving out a lead of over 30 seconds.

The peloton eventually ran Stephens down and once they did Brown went on the offensive, latching on to the American and capitalising on a mistake on a tight turn to charge into the climb with 17 km left, leaving Stephens struggling behind her.

When I got across to Stephens it was on a cobbled section and she tried to ride the gutter and then was struggling to come across to me and completely lost momentum, so I decided to just go," Brown said.

Sunweb mounted a chase on the Moskesstraatt as the lead leveled out at 25 seconds with Lippert attacking and going clear. She was unable to cut down Brown's advantage however, and when Mackaij broke free of the next group on the road Lippert eased off.

The Sunweb duo were ultimately unable to catch Brown and she crossed the line solo for the biggest win of her European career.

Into the final, I heard that the Sunweb riders were trying to come across and I was getting time gaps and it was sort of the opposite of Sunday in Liège," Brown said.

"The time was coming down and I was pretty on the limit but once we hit the headwind it started to go out again, so I felt pretty confident then with just a few kilometres left to finish.”