Ineos Grenadiers rider Pidcock launched two decisive moves in the Belgian one-day race, setting up the group of favourites and eventually outsprinting Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) at the line to take his first pro win.
But the 21-year-old said his rival Van Aert may have gone too deep in the closing stages of the race, as Pidcock, Van Aert and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) held off a chasing group behind.
Speaking after the finish, Pidcock said: “Sprinting at the end of races like that are not the same as sprinting for a town sign, so I always go into those sprints with confidence.
“Wout was pulling super hard every time we got away. I was going full on the front and then I was doing the same watts to stay on his wheel, so he was pulling hard but maybe too hard in the end.”
The result is a major turning point in Pidcock’s career, as it marks his first victory since joining the WorldTour with British squad Ineos at the start of 2020.
Pidcock, a rising star in cyclocross, mountain biking, and now on the road, has raced a full cobbled Classics campaign and hugely impressed on his debut at the highest level.
After finishing on the podium of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and fifth in Strade Bianche, Pidcock went into Brabantse Pijl with plenty of confidence but without the boost of a victory.
Reflecting on the finish of Brabantse Pijl, Pidcock said: “I was getting nervous because they were coming behind. I waited and waited and Wout went. I got a little bit boxed in but rushed to Wout and came past him.
“We were a little bit on the back foot with this [breakaway] group away and we were running out of guys, so we got to that climb and said to Jumbo we’d pull to the climb and then go across, Trentin came as well and it worked out pretty good in the end.
“I knew I was going well into this race because I finally had a good week’s training with no interruptions last week, so I knew I was going to be good and it’s nice to be good in the race to the finish.”