Two-time Le Samyn winner Chantal Blaak hopes Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team will make it three in a row in Wednesday’s mid-week classics. The 27-year-old will be joined by compatriots Amy Pieters and Jip van den Bos, Luxembourgish champion Christine Majerus, British cyclocross champion Nikki Brammeier and Karol-Ann Canuel. Four of the six-strong line-up raced Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland last weekend.
“We didn’t have the results we wanted, but we worked really well together as a team last weekend,” said Blaak, who won the chase group sprint for second at Het Nieuwsblad. “For me, I’m happy with my second place, and I’m happy with my shape. It’s really nice. I want to do good races in this period, and it’s good for my confidence that I’m feeling strong.
“If I’m in a position to win on Wednesday, I’d like to win again, but I’ve won twice already so there’s nothing to prove. I don’t need to win a third time,” Blaak said. “For me, it’s most important that we have a good race as a team and hopefully that means one of us can win. It doesn’t have to be me.”
Le Samyn des Dames begins in Quaregnon, Belgium and finishes 112-kilometres later in Dour. Following an opening lap of 59-kilometres, the peloton enters the 26-kilometre local circuit for the start of two local laps. Each lap includes cobble sections and climbs, including one cobbled climb.
“It’s a typical classic race with the cobbles and climbs,” said Blaak. “I like it. It’s a hard race, and the important moments can happen anywhere. Everything can happen. The only sure thing is it’s not an easy race.”
A LOOK BACK
Blaak took her second straight Le Samyn win last year when she outsprinted Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5) in a two-up sprint. The duo emerged from a 23-rider group that split from the main peloton in the crosswinds 30 kilometres into the race. Amy Pieters, then Johansson’s teammate and now Blaak’s Boels-Dolmans teammate, rounded out the podium.
“The first year I won the race, it was a bunch sprint,” said Blaak. “The next year, the bunch split really early and there were only 20 riders left. There were so many attacks, and in the end, I was left with Emma.”
A LOOK AHEAD
In Blaak, Boels-Dolmans has a proven winner. In Pieters, the team has a clear contender who has shown a high level of fitness last weekend. While the pair provides the obvious options, any of the six Boels-Dolmans starters could make an impact on the race.
“I’ve shown the circuit suits me, and the team has shown we’re good in this period,” said Blaak. “I’m really looking forward to Wednesday because we have so many options to play with. It’s going to be hard race and a good race, and hopefully one from the team can win.”
Le Samyn begins from Grand Place, Quaregnon at 10:50am CET with an expected finish around 2pm CET. The race is no longer part of the Lotto Cycling Cup but serves as the pre-program of the Napolean Games cycling Cup according to the new race organisers. We are not expecting a live stream of Le Samyn (sadly).
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team for Le Samyn des Dames
Jip van den Bos