photo credits @ Deceuninck-Quick Step
Florian Sénéchal won this year’s edition of Le Samyn, marking the French rider’s first professional victory, while also extending Deceuninck-Quick Step’s dominance in the early-season cobbled classics.
Indeed, following on the heels of Zdenek Stybar and Bob Jungels’ salvo of wins in last weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Deceuninck-Quick Step went into Le Samyn as the favorites.
While there are plenty of bigger, more prestigious, races to follow, Deceuninck-Quick Step’s rivals must already be wondering what they must do to stop the blue steamroller. Last year Patrick Lefévère’s squad ended the season top of the UCI WorldTour rankings. And, despite losing top-guns like Niki Terpstra and Fernando Gaviria to rival teams, they’re looking even stronger than last year.
After first Stybar won his maiden Flemish classic on Saturday, Jungels surprised many the following day with his first win on the cobbles. On Tuesday it was the turn of Sénéchal who added a 14th win of the season to the Belgian squad’s collective palmarès.
Sénéchal’s win came after the leading group of 10 riders had waited patiently until the final kilometer when it reeled in another Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Tim Declercq, who himself had briefly threatened a maiden win following a late attack.
However, with defending champion Terpstra’s (Direct Energie) looking strong, Lars Boom (Roompot-Charles) opened up the sprint, perhaps slightly too early. But, Sénéchal responded before outsprinting Aimé De Gendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Terpstra to the line after almost 200km of racing along narrow twisty roads, peppered with short sharp cobbled climbs and treacherous sections of pavé.
Dutchman Boom eventually finished just off the podium in fourth spot.
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