March 2, 2021
Le Samyn 2021 – Quaregnon – Dour : 205,4 km
This year’s edition of Le Samyn will start in Quaregnon, just like it has done for the past five years.
March 2, 2021
Le Samyn 2021 – Quaregnon – Dour : 205,4 km
This year’s edition of Le Samyn will start in Quaregnon, just like it has done for the past five years. After a mid-morning start in this small Walloon town, the riders will head north for 50km before looping back to Quarengon to complete their unofficial, 100km-long warm-up. While this warm-up might sound a little pointless, it’s crucial for those racing as once they pass back through Quaregnon they’ll be met with a non-stop barrage of bone-rattling cobblestone sectors for the next 100km. Four laps of a grueling circuit around Dour make up these final 100km. Each lap contains five cobblestone sectors, two of which head slightly uphill – the Côte de la Roquette and the Côte des Nonettes. There’s also an uncategorised climb that drags right up to the finish line, adding an extra sting into the tail of a route that’s already incredibly tough.
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) won Le Samyn in a sprint from a heavily reduced bunch, after a typically active display from his teammate Mathieu van der Poel.
After a breathless day’s racing, Merlier produced a powerful acceleration to counter a long-range sprint from Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X), while the final podium spot went to Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux).
A group of 35 riders entered the finish straight together, led by Van der Poel, whose handlebars were heavily damaged. The Dutchman had attacked briefly with more than 40km remaining and went clear on the final cobblestone sector with Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) before switching to a lead-out role in the final 1500 metres.
Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos) was a relentlessly attacking force and formed the first significant selection on the second of four laps of a 25km finishing circuit that contained four cobbled sectors, some of them uphill. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was part of the 20-man move, but after repeated accelerations from Van der Poel in the thinning peloton behind, the race came back together on the penultimate lap.
Campenaerts went again just before the bell and spent much of the final lap alone in front of a QuickStep-led peloton, before the race came back to life in the final 15 kilometres. Just after Campenaerts was caught by a stretched chase group, his teammate Lukasz Wisniowski went clear and spent a few more kilometres alone out front.
He was caught on the flat final sector of the Rue de Belle Vue, where Sénéchal produced a scorching acceleration. Van der Poel was the only rider able to follow, although he seemed reluctant to commit with the Frenchman once they emerged onto the tarmac with 3km to go.
A few riders scrambled across to them and Sénéchal made once last-ditch effort before deciding against towing Van der Poel to the line. The Dutchman then found himself on the front and allowed the reduced peloton to come back as he took up the lead-out reins under the flamme rouge.
Campenaerts took yet another flyer but Tiller was the first to launch a proper sprint. Even that proved too far out, as a patient Merlier made his way up into the slipstream before rounding him and celebrating a fine win for his team.
How it unfolded
It was a fast start under blue skies in the Belgian town of Quaregnon, near the French border. Despite a number of attempts, it took an age for a breakaway to form as the peloton rattled off 45 kilometres in the first hour.
A group finally went clear after around 70km, containing Kenny De Ketele (Sport Vlaanderen Baloise), Joey Rosskopf (Rally Cycling), Gianni Marchand (Tarteletto-Isorex), Jan-Willem van Schip (Beat Cycling) and Enzo Leijnse (Team DSM).
The quintet established a lead of three minutes before it became a quartet when Marchand was dropped as the riders hit the cobbles for the first time with just over 100km to go.
The finishing circuit, to be completed four times, contained four sectors of cobbles, some of which were on twisting uphill roads: Rue du vert Pignon, the Côte de la Roquette, the Chemin de Wihéries, Côte des Nonettes and the Rue de Belle Vue.
By the end of the first lap, the break’s lead was less than a minute, and it didn’t survive the second lap as the race burst into life. After the peloton started to fragment on the Côte de la Roquette and Antoine Raugel (Groupama-FDJ Conti) attacked ahead of the Côte des Nonettes, Campenaerts instigated the first big selection with 60km remaining.
The UCI Hour Record holder dragged 19 riders across to the break: Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mark Cavendish, Bert Van Lerberghe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (Qhubeka Assos), Kobe Goossens, Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Damien Touzé (AG2R-Citroën), Jempy Drucker (Cofidis), Timothy Dupont (Bingoal Casino-Wallonie Bruxelles), Kenny De Ketele (Sport Vlaanderen Baloise), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), Lorrenzo Manzin (Total Direct Energie), Donovan Grondin (Arkea-Samsic), Rasmus Tiller, Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X), Maurice Ballerstedt (Jumbo-Visma), Antoine Raugel (Groupama-FDJ).
The catch was made after the final sector of cobbles at Belle Vue, and the peloton let it go initially. However, when the gap hit a minute on the penultimate lap, Van der Poel – who had teammate Merlier up the road – decided enough was enough and went on the attack. He ripped clear on the Nonettes. Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was with him initially but fell away, as John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) and Amaury Capiot (Arkea-Samsic) scrambled to bridge across.
That group was caught but Van der Poel continued to press on, with the lead group now just a dozen seconds up ahead. A fluid portion of the race ensued, with Van Lerberghe accelerating up ahead, before Campenaerts and Vanmarcke broke free together ahead of the Belle Vue cobbles. Behind, Van der Poel accelerated again as a reduced peloton swallowed up the remnants from the large break. Cavendish punched his way over to Vanmarcke and Campenaerts but they were quickly caught by the reduced bunch.
Immediately, Campenaerts went again, taking a lead of a handful of seconds over the line and onto the final lap. However, the race then settled down somewhat, with Deceuninck-QuickStep putting six riders on the front to calmly control the Belgian’s advantage.
Vanmarcke punctured with 15km to go, and Campenaerts was finally caught with 14km to go, at which point a teammate of his accelerated.
Van der Poel was in second wheel on the cobbles as the peloton stretched but it was Dries De Bondt who attacked for Alpecin-Fenix, with Campenaerts summoning the energy to go again and join him. Behind them, Van der Poel marked attacks and took Tim Declercq’s wheel as the Belgian dragged it back for QuickStep with 11km to go.
Another Qhubeka attack came quickly, with Wisniowski on the move, and the Pole established a handy lead. There were a couple of short-lived attacks from the chase group, but Van der Poel soon emerged at the front of it to help drag it back.
Wisniowski took just a few seconds onto the Belle Vue cobbles with 4km to go, but that was wiped out when Sénéchal accelerated, with Van der Poel in his wheel. The Frenchman urged Van der Poel to collaborate but there was no instant response, allowing Vanmarcke, Wisniowski, and Van Poppel to come across. Sénéchal kept the pace high before attacking when Van der Poel slowed things with his turn. He gained no ground, however, and soon decided to down tools.
With 1.7km to go, Van der Poel found himself on the front, with the reduced peloton coming back. He led into the final kilometre, at which point Campenaerts launched yet another acceleration. Tiller waited longer but still not long enough, as Merlier timed it to perfection.
1 Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:34:29
2 Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
3 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
5 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
9 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal WB
10 Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal WB
11 Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
12 Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
13 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
14 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
15 Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
16 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
17 Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
18 Daan Hoole (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
19 Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
20 Thimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
21 Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
22 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
23 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
24 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
25 Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
26 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
27 Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
28 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:05
29 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
30 Martijn Budding (Ned) Beat Cycling
31 Jarno Mobach (Ned) Leopard Pro Cycling 0:00:07
32 Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
33 Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:09
34 Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
35 Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:12
36 Cedric Beullens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
37 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:16
38 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
39 Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Beat Cycling 0:00:53
40 Maurice Ballerstedt (Ger) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
41 Antoine Raugel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ Continental 0:01:05
42 Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal WB
43 Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
44 Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
45 Carlos Barbero (Spa) Team Qhubeka Assos
46 Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-QuickStep
47 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
48 Joey Rosskopf (USA) Rally Cycling
49 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
50 Ludovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal WB
51 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation 0:02:25
52 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
53 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation 0:02:38
54 Stan Van Tricht (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
55 Matis Louvel (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
56 Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) Development Team DSM
57 Frederik Backaert (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
58 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
59 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie 0:02:41
60 Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
61 Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep
62 Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
63 Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:02:44
64 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
65 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 0:04:40
66 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:04:42
67 Luuc Bugter (Ned) Beat Cycling
68 Rait Ärm (Est) Groupama-FDJ Continental
69 Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:43
70 Colin Heiderscheid (Lux) Leopard Pro Cycling 0:05:09
71 Wessel Krul (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
72 Hugo Page (Fra) Groupama-FDJ Continental
73 Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod
74 Justas Beniusis (Ltu) LVIV Cycling Team
75 Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ Continental
76 Dries De Pooter (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
77 Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
78 Axel van der Tuuk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
79 Marijn van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ Continental
80 Milan Paulus (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
81 Andreas Goeman (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
82 Rick Pluimers (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
83 Mick van Dijke (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
84 Marten Kooistra (Ned) Beat Cycling
85 Gianni Marchand (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
86 Tim Torn Teutenberg (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling
87 Markus Pajur (Est) Team Arkea-Samsic
88 Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
89 Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
90 Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
91 Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis
92 Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
93 Andreas Nielsen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
94 Leon Heinschke (Ger) Development Team DSM
95 Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Team Qhubeka Assos
96 Alex Richardson (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
97 August Jensen (Nor) Delko
98 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
99 Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
100 Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
101 Ludwig De Winter (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
102 Christophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
103 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Qhubeka Assos
104 Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
105 Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
106 Julien Trarieux (Fra) Delko
107 Yves Coolen (Bel) Beat Cycling
108 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko
109 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
110 Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
111 Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
112 Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal WB
113 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
114 Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
115 Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
116 Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling
117 Stephen Bassett (USA) Rally Cycling
118 Florian Maitre (Fra) Total Direct Energie
119 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
120 Jacob Scott (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod 0:05:18
121 Matthew Bostock (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod 0:07:14
122 Magnus Sheffield (USA) Rally Cycling 0:10:15
123 Pier Andre Cote (Can) Rally Cycling
124 Paul Penhoet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ Continental 0:15:12
125 Finn Fisher-Black (NZl) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
DNF Norman Vahtra (Est) Israel Start-up Nation
DNF Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Sylvain Moniquet (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Xandres Vervloesem (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
DNF Boris Vallee (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNF Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNF Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNF Donavan Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNF Alan Boileau (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNF Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNF Clément Carisey (Fra) Delko
DNF Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko
DNF Christopher Lawless (GBr) Total Direct Energie
DNF Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNF Julien Van Den Brande (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNF Alfdan De Decker (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNF Lennert Teugels (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNF Enzo Wouters (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNF Maxime De Poorter (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNF Maxwell De Broeder (Bel) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Brecht Stas (Bel) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Toni Franz (Ger) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Raphaël Kockelmann (Lux) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Bernardo Gonçalves (Por) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Mantas Januskevicius (Ltu) LVIV Cycling Team
DNF Jordy Bouts (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNF Piotr Havik (Ned) Beat Cycling
DNF Robert Scott (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
DNF Callum Macleod (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
DNF Reece Wood (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
DNF Daniel Tulett (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
DNF Laurence Pithie (NZl) Groupama-FDJ Continental
DNF Michel Heßmann (Ger) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
DNF Maikel Zijlaard (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
DNF Jesper Rasch (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
DNF Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita) Development Team DSM
DNF Enzo Leijnse (Ned) Development Team DSM