This year’s Le Samyn des Dames saw an Italian lockout on the podium with Marta Bastianelli taking the victory in a sprint-a-deux with Maria Giulia Confalonieri. Behind the lead pair, Vittoria Guazzini took the final podium spot ahead of Audrey Cordon-Ragot. The decisive move came on the final cobbled section of Belle Vue, with Bastianelli powering on and only Uno-X’s Confalonieri was able to go with her. The pair managed to hold the chasing pack at bay over the final couple of kilometres going uphill to the finish line.
This year’s Le Samyn des Dames had a weaker startlist than previous years but formed the final part of an extended Opening Weekend that featured Omloop het Niewusblad and Omloop van het Hageland. Le Samyn des Dames for many years was considered the closest race the women’s peloton had to a Paris Roubaix. Its cobbled sections, some of which are properly broken up, proved decisive in this year’s race. The Rue du Vert Pignon (1.4km), Cote de la Roquette (500m), Chemin de Wihéries (400m), Cote des Nonettes (300m) and Rue de Belle Vue (500m) provided the tests to the peloton.
An early group of 17 riders went clear but was soon back in the peloton. Each pass of the cobbled split the peloton but ultimately around 80 riders remained in the bunch. The bunch stretched and then contracted repeatedly but it wasn’t until 13km to go that the next big move took place. Lotta Henttala punctured at a key moment and Romy Kasper was sacrificed to try to bring her back into the peloton.
A crash with 7km to go took out favourites Arianna Fidanza and Daria Pikulik, it looked like a rider caught the gap in the centre of the Belgian road and hit the deck. Fidanza in particular looked shaken up, she has a suspected broken nose. The high pace in the race saw Henttala unable to get back to the front group. As the peloton hit the Belle Vue section, Bastianelli attacked and pushed on, dragging Confalonieri with her. The Italian proved to be useful and looking to secure a strong result, so did all of the leading out to the finish line. Bastianelli then kicked with 125m to go to secure the victory. It has been a strong weekend for Marta Bastianelli, she finished 2nd at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, 3rd at Omloop van het Hageland and 1st in Le Samyn des Dames in her retirement year.
“I am very happy with this, also because Belgium is my second home country. It was a really tough day and I actually didn’t feel great. I stuck to the plan today and that was to attack on the last cobblestone section. It’s nice that I can say goodbye with a win. Is it certain that I will stop? Yes, I’m sure. I’m sorry I didn’t help, but we had another sprinter in the chasing group with Chiara Consonni. I also did not know what exactly the difference was with the chasing group. I didn’t know if I should continue.”Marta Bastianelli
“I had hoped that she would still participate, but this is part of cycling. You have to accept it. To lose like this is of course a bit painful, but I view it positively. I am happy with my performance, I had good legs today. This is a great way to start the classics campaign. I am also proud of the team. We did well today in hectic race conditions. I am already looking forward to the upcoming races.”Maria Giulia Confalonieri
2023 Le Samyn des Dames result
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