Last year’s Le Samyn des Dames saw Lotte Kopecky take the win for Liv Racing. She beat Movistar’s Emma Norsgaard and the result set the tone for the rest of their seasons. Both appeared to move up a level with the momentum gained at Le Samyn. The race was also one of the highest paying women’s one-day races in 2021, with Lotte Kopecky winning a VW Up car. The value of that effectively made the women’s prize money higher than the men’s total in Le Samyn.
The race usually goes between Quaregnon and Dour, with a rolling but not too hilly terrain. The cobbled sections provide the challenge though and the race used to have a reputation as being the closest women’s race to being a Paris Roubaix. Obviously, that’s changed with a full women’s Paris Roubaix now in existence but Le Samyn is still a useful warm-up preparation race for that major challenge. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak is the only multiple winner of the race, taking 3 victories in 2015, 2016 and 2020. With retirement just around the corner for her, she will surely be aiming to make it 4 victories at Le Samyn.
ProCyclingUK has had confirmation from Le Samyn des Dames that despite the rule that 1.1 level races should only have 7 WWT teams, the UCI has allowed this year’s race to have 9 WWT teams. This has been one of the issues for smaller women’s Continental teams throughout the affected pandemic seasons. With organisers keen to get big names at their races and WWT teams eager to race as much as possible, it has reduced the opportunities for Continental teams to race. However, if the UCI has given permission then it all appears to be above board!
The Le Samyn websites are currently under re-development so there are no clues about the 2022 route but that will be released in due course. Above is a video of some of the climbs and cobbled sections, provided by the race organisers.