It looked hopeful when Thimo Willems made an all or nothing attempt in the last kilometre. With 50 metres to go, a fantastic effort just wasn't rewarded. Taco van der Hoorn gave it his all to win the Brussels Cycling Classic.

The peloton quickly let ten riders get away who were part of the day's escape. The biggest names in the breakaway were Jelle Wallays and Taco van der Hoorn. In wet conditions it was important to stay alert, a slip was easily made. After a good 100km the lead of the breakaway group increased to 8 minutes. There was no real panic in the peloton.

The race opened up with the passing of the Muur of Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg. The forcing in the peloton led to a shuffle where the better riders got involved in the debate. In the meantime, the advantage of the breakaway riders started to shrink. With 40km to go, the breakaway riders were kept in check with a lead of more than a minute and a half.

The relationship in the chasing group was not optimal, which caused the surplus of the peloton to rejoin. Under the impulse of a strong Lotto-Soudal, the situation looked bad for the escapees. Their lead was wiped out with the number of kilometres still to go. With 15km to go, the final slope of this 102nd Brussels Cycling Classic was tackled. This turned out to be too much of a slope for Jelle Wallays and Axel Laurance. The peloton had to close a gap of 45 seconds to the eight remaining escapees.

Gradually the hope grew that it could be a nice day for the leaders. In the final kilometres the chasers did not get any closer and the nervousness in the leading group increased. With a clever manoeuvre by Thimo Willems (on the instructions of team leader Preben van Hecke) he put fellow fighter Arjen Livyns under pressure. In the meantime he had already skipped a whole series of head races.

In the last kilometre all cards were played. Van der Hoorn went full speed ahead with Alpecin rider Tobias Bayer in his wheel. For a while it looked like it was going to be for one of these two riders, until our shrewd Thimo gave it his all. With a surprise attack on the other side of the road he flew towards Tobias and Taco. Once he found the connection, he went for it and seemed to be on his way to the best victory of his career. It was not to be, the rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux took the win with a giant move after a nail-biting finish.

Our rider's disappointment was later transformed into justifiable pride. Our rider from Zemst put not only himself but also Minerva Cycling on the map. A 1.PRO race was almost won by a rider in whom few still had confidence...

Thimo Willems: "Second in a semi-classic: that is a fantastic result. For me, but especially for the team. I only lost to Taco van der Hoorn and that is a real winner. This is a revenge, but I especially wanted to honour our late team boss. Without him this would never have been possible. I thought about him a lot during the race. If he had seen this, he would have been the happiest man in the world. It is such a pity that he cannot see this. I realise that it's thanks to him that I was able to join this team."