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Le Samyn de Dames Race History
Le Samyn des Dames started in 2012, it’s held on the same day and uses a fair amount of the same route as the men’s race. Until this year, it has always been a 1.2 categorised race (now a 1.1) and forms part of the Exterioo Cycling Cup. It’s a Flanders-esque race but takes place over the border in Wallonia.
Despite its lower race ranking, it still gets strong start lists. Not all of the top teams will race Le Samyn des Dames as some decide to rest up before Strade Bianche. However Trek, SD Worx and Movistar have made sure to attend in recent years.
The current version of the race sees riders complete a large starting loop before a couple of laps of a shorter finishing circuit. Each lap of the finishing circuit contains the cobbled climbs of Côte de la Roquette and Côte de Nonettes. A selection of flat cobbled sections at the Rue de Wihéries, Vert Pignon and Rue Belle Vue also keep the racing hard.
The race has been dominated by Dutch riders since its creation. In the 10 editions of the race, there are been 7 Dutch wins. 3 of those have been by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, the only multiple winner. Other riders to win are Janneke Ensing, Jip van den Bos, Sheyla Gutierrez, Emma Johansson, Ellen van Dijk and Adrie Visser.
The men’s race has the title of the ‘little Paris Roubaix’ in recognition of the number of cobbled secteurs in the race. For the women’s peloton who had no Paris Roubaix race (until 2021!), this race was often seen as an alternative. Certainly, in its most recent form, it has only been won by strong riders, with sprinters largely marginalised compared to early editions of the race.
2021’s Le Samyn des Dames was the first bunch sprint for the win since 2015 but the weather looks good and most importantly, dry for 2022.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Jip van den Bos
Live on Eurosport/GCN
Twitter: #LeSamynDesDames or #SamynDesDames
Les Samyn des Dames Contenders
Chloe Hosking was on the podium here last season, sprinting well but Lotte Kopecky and Emma Norsgaard timed their efforts better on the day. The parcours at Le Samyn suits Hosking, with some sharp climbs but short enough to not cause major trouble. She had a quiet opening weekend, finishing 56th and 35th, this race will suit her more. It’d be tough to ignore Shirin van Anrooij after her performance at Omloop van het Hageland. She took 5th place there after animating the winning breakaway.
Emma Norsgaard‘s opening weekend was good yet again. She was 6th in Omloop het Nieuwsblad and then 2nd at Omloop van het Hageland. The latter one was particularly impressive because she made the move to get into the small break. Sprinting from the smaller group, it could only have been a head to head between her and Bastianelli. She’d got a great chance to win Le Samyn des Dames with no Wiebes/Bastianelli/Kopecky here this year. She’s supported by Sheyla Gutierrez, the 2017 winner, and Barbara Guarischi, 5th in 2019. Both riders will play a supporting role but will become very useful to Movistar if anything happens to Norsgaard.
FDJ has the twin threat of Grace Brown and Clara Copponi. Expect to see attacks from Brown, particularly leading into the cobbled sections, as she aims to break the peloton’s will. If she can’t get away, then the team’s focus will switch to Clara Copponi who has continued her end of 2021 form into this season. She was 5th and 6th in the opening weekend and will be one to watch in the finale here against Emma Norsgaard,
A quiet start to 2022 saw Amber van der Hulst finish 101st at Omloop het Nieuwsblad after dropping on the Muur van Geraardsbergen. The team were focused on other riders so Le Samyn des Dames will be her first chance for a result at her new team. Rachele Barbieri
Some of the riders that impressed in Spain for Uno-X found the opening weekend a little harder. Anniina Ahtosalo was 36th at Omloop van het Hageland and Susanne Andersen was 50th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Julie Leth impressed however, sneaking into the top-10 in Ninove. It’s tough to identify a single leader on the team but all 3 riders could be useful at Le Samyn des Dames. Based on the weekend, you suspect Leth might get the nod again.
Lucie Jounier is a great one-day racer with a good sprint at the finish too. She was 12th in the 2020 edition of Le Samyn. With 2 more years of impressive results in her legs, certainly has the potential to break the top-10 this season.
Valcar’s Chiara Consonni looked to have come back from the crash in Spain with 16th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. The aggressive racing the following day at Omloop van het Hageland took its toll though as she finished 51st after being dropped. We know she’s a great sprinter and has won in Belgium before but you just feel this parcours suits riders with higher outright power better.
Claire Faber finished 9th her in 2020 and returns for 2022 as part of the Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch team. It’ll be a first chance to see their new jersey that infamously matched with some Women’s WorldTour teams. Faber hasn’t raced so far in 2022 so there are no indicators of form other than her past result here.
Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Demi de Jong has a good history at Le Samyn des Dames, making the podium in 3rd spot in 2019 and 5th in 2016. She’s not made the podium at any race since that year’s Le Samyn. Both years she managed to get into the race-winning break. She’ll need a similar situation for a strong result again.
Laura Tomasi was 7th last year for Ale BTC Ljubljana but hasn’t had a result so far in 2022 – largely due to working for Marta Bastianelli. With no Bastianelli here, Tomasi should get the sprinting nod if it comes down to it. Her teammate Maaike Boogaard was 12th last year and would normally have a chance. She’s had a recent Covid positive though and isn’t a guarantee for the start after missing out on the opening weekend.
Le Samyn des Dames Outsiders
There’s been so much hype around Megan Jastrab since she won the junior Worlds in Harrogate back in 2019. Covid and the Olympics delayed her road racing since the late part of 2021. There she worked mainly for teammates so there was no stand-out result. Team DSM
I’m not sure what to expect from Valentine Fortin yet. She was 8th in the final stage at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana for Cofidis but then had a middling opening weekend. She has shown before that sprinting at the end of tough races is fine, the doubts are there about her ability to get to the front in races like this with cobbled sections.
We saw Mylene de Zoete finish 9th in the sprint at Vuelta CV Feminas and it’s probably fair that Omloop het Nieuwsblad isn’t necessarily a race to expect a similar sort of result. I’m sort of in-between on whether she will do well here. We expect it to end in a sprint but there are plenty of tough sections to navigate too. Another top-10 would be a great result.
St Michel-Auber 93’s Simone Boilard has had a good start to the year. She was 5th at the GP Velo Alanya, sprinting in the second group behind a solo winner. This is her first season at the Continental level after moving from Team Macadam’s Cowboys over the off-season.
Another rider on a French team with an outside chance is Arianna Pruisscher of Stade Rochelais Charente Maritime. She took some top-10s last season, including 8th at GP Eco-Struct. Pruisscher had a solid start to the 2022 season with 19th at Vuelta CV Feminas whilst working for India Grangier.