Le Samyn is not part of the World Tour calendar, but it always ends up being one of the most spectacular races of the season. The 205.4km-long course between Quaregnon and Dour has everything you could wish for from a one-day race: cobblestones, hills, and small and narrow roads – the perfect ingredients for an exciting race.
Full gas at Le Samyn
Two days from the team’s ninth victory in two decades at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl lined out at the start of the 209km Le Samyn, which took the bunch on the now traditional course that made for some aggressive racing from early on. After the initial breakaway was overhauled more than 50 kilometers from the finish, those keen on avoiding a bunch sprint used every hill and every stretch of cobbles to split the field and ride away.
Jannik Steimle was one of first Wolfpack riders to shut down the attacks that came on the penultimate lap of the local circuit, before Josef Cerny and Bert Van Lerberghe booked a place in a group that immediately built a small gap which in only a couple of kilometers spiked to 40 seconds. After Josef dropped out from that move, it remained for Bert to carry the lag for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and the Belgian sprinted to eighth place for what was his first top 10 of the season.
“The race was hard and we tried to cover all the moves and be in all the important groups that got away in the last part of the route, but it was impossible to control everything. There were a lot of attacks today, as many riders were willing to open up the race early, and this impacted on how the race unfolded, spoiling the plans for a mass gallop. At the end of the day, we did our best and can take confidence into the next races from how the team rode today”, said sports director Rik Van Slycke.
Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images