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Women’s Le Samyn des Dames 2024 Race Preview

Le Samyn des Dames History

Le Samyn des Dames approaches once again in 2024, marking the thrilling conclusion of an extended opening weekend in the cycling calendar. While Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland set the stage on Saturday and Sunday, fans need only wait until Tuesday for another spectacle on the road. Known for its relatively flat terrain punctuated by a few short, steep climbs, Le Samyn des Dames presents a captivating blend of possibilities – a battleground where a small group or lone rider might seize victory, or where the peloton could thunder to the finish in a frenetic bunch sprint. Although recent editions have seen the pack regroup for thrilling finales, past races have witnessed champions like Ellen van Dijk and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak triumphing with bold attacks.

The cobbled climbs of Côte de la Roquette and Côte de Nonettes, along with the flat cobbled stretches at Chemin de Wiheries, Vert Pignon, and Rue Belle Vue are the notable tough sections of the race. While these cobblestones may not rival the legendary Roubaix, they still pose formidable challenges, causing the peloton to stretch and contract throughout the course.

In the 2023 Le Samyn des Dames, Italian riders dominated the podium, with Marta Bastianelli clinching victory in a thrilling two-up sprint against Maria Giulia Confalonieri. Vittoria Guazzini secured the final podium spot ahead of Audrey Cordon-Ragot. The race’s decisive moment unfolded on the final cobbled section of Belle Vue, where Bastianelli surged ahead, joined only by Uno-X’s Confalonieri. Together, they fended off the chasing pack in a dramatic uphill battle to the finish line.

Previous Winners

Marta Bastianelli
Emma Norsgaard
Lotte Kopecky

Le Samyn des Dames 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Tuesday 27th February 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery

All times in GMT

Twitter: #LeSamynDesDames or #SamynDesdames

Startlist: FirstCycling

Le Samyn des Dames 2024 Contenders

Chiara Consonni will be a threat if it comes down to a sprint finish in this year’s Le Samyn des Dames. The Italian has already come close here with 2nd in 2022 behind Emma Norsgaard but was dropped in a hard race last year, finishing well down the order. She definitely has a chance for the win here and has been knocking on the door in 2024 already. She finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the UAE Tour Women where Lorena Wiebes was simply too strong. She will feel like she missed out whilst the big favourite at Trofeo Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi, managing 3rd that day.  If Consonni does get dropped and it becomes a harder race, Karlijn Swinkels might be the shout for UAE Team ADQ. The Dutch rider has a best finish here of 16th from 2018 but is a great option from a reduced group and can be used as an attacking option.

Marthe Goossens already has a pair of top-10 finishes this season over in Spain. She peaked with a 5th at Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx and also 7th at Trofeo Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi. She doesn’t have much of a record to speak of at Le Samyn des Dames but is a rider in form here. A strong result will be an encouraging sign going into the rest of the Spring Classics. Ilse Pluimers is also a solid option with top-10s on her palmares from other smaller classics in Belgium. I think Goossens will be the main shout but Pluimers can also get herself a good result this year.

We’re going to be looking at Charlotte Kool as a favourite if the race doesn’t split up this year. The Dutch rider will have raced by the time we get to Le Samyn des Dames but hasn’t so far before the Opening Weekend due to illness. Hopefully fully recovered, she will be the favourite that others will have to tactically prevent from being in with a shout in the final hundred metres. What might help the others is that Kool only raced here before in 2018 as an RC Jan van Arckel rider and was a DNF. 

This one could see Marthe Truyen get the nod at Fenix-Deceuninck over Julie de Wilde. That’s based on Truyen’s 8th place in last year’s Le Samyn des Dames. De Wilde arguably has the stronger sprint but with that result last year, Truyen will want to see if she goes better in 2024. Neither rider has raced before the Opening Weekend so their current road form isn’t clear.

I think Vittoria Guazzini will be leading FDJ-Suez here after finishing in 3rd spot in the last 2 editions of Le Samyn des Dames. The Italian will be hoping to get a good result once more and use it as a springboard to stay injury-free and have a strong season leading up to the Olympics. She’s taken 6th place at the UAE Tour Women as a warm-up for this. Gladys Verhulst-Wild might also want to get involved after finishing 4th in 2021. She’s also been fast at the start of 2024 with 5th place on the Tour Down Under opening stage and 9th in a sprint at the UAE Tour Women. Their lives might be made easier by having Grace Brown put pressure on other teams and reduce their numbers. 21st in 2022, you can see Brown attacking on the cobbles, going clear and forcing other teams to chase. It’s her first race since the Aussie part of the season where her 5th place at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was more than solid.

Emma Norsgaard
Emma Norsgaard

Emma Norsgaard will look to try and replicate her Le Samyn des Dames win from 2022. The year before she’d just lost out to Lotte Kopecky but came back to take the top step and her first Belgian win. She wasn’t really in the mix at the UAE Tour Women but stayed largely out of trouble and should be looking to contest the Spring Classics more. Teammate Sheyla Gutierrez is also a former winner here back in 2017. She hasn’t finished in the top-10 since 2018 and I expect her to be fully riding in support of Norsgaard.

Maria Giulia Confalonieri just missed out on the win here last year as Marta Bastianelli used all of her experience to position herself perfectly to storm past for the finish line. It was the Italian’s first-ever Le Samyn des Dames and she certainly started well enough. She’s taken a pair of top-10s already in 2024, one in Spain and one in the UAE and that is encouraging for a repeat performance. Teammate Anniina Ahtosalo is also going to be one to watch after finishing 7th and 8th in the UAE Tour Women. The Finn doesn’t have the same high past result here though so look to Confalonieri first and then maybe Ahtosalo for a purer sprint finish.

Arkea-B&B Hotels have an interesting old and young pairing for this one. Swedish rider Emilia Fahlin does have a top-10 here but it’s from way way back in 2014. We’ve seen her sprint well when free to do so, especially around contract time whilst at FDJ-Suez. She took WWT top-10s in China at the end of 2023 and was 11th this year at Trofeo Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi. Her 19-year-old teammate Titia Ryo is going to be one to watch. 9th already at Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx, the French rider was one of the strongest riders to come out of the 2023 Junior ranks.

It’s a struggle to unpick who the best option for Cofidis is here. Only Martina Alzini has a top-20 finish…which was 20th in 2022. Almost all of them can sprint well at the end of a hard race. The parcours suits each rider fairly equally too. I guess we’ll see Victoire Berteau go on the attack and it will probably boil down to Sarah Roy and Valentine Fortin to sprint for the best result. Just don’t be surprised if Alana Castrique, Martina Alzini or Kirstie van Haaften end up in the top-10 instead.

We can’t ignore Swiss rider Noemi Rüegg at the moment. She’s taken 3 podium results and 2 other top-10s already and it’s not quite the end of February. It’s an impressive start to the 2024 season which includes victory at Trofeo Felantix-Colonia de Sant Jordi and a chance to do well in the Classics season. So far all of her strong results have come in Spain so it will be interesting to see if they transfer across to Belgium too.

Marjolein van 't Geloof
Marjolein van 't Geloof

Marjolein van ‘t Geloof is one of the most consistent riders of Le Samyn des Dames. She has 5 top-10 finishes in the last 6 years with a 13th in 2019 the only time she has missed out. Now riding for Hess Cycling who have been fairly quiet so far this year bar some attacks before the TV time, this might be a chance to deliver a strong result for the British team.

And speaking of British teams, Lifeplus-Wahoo can look towards Kristyna Burlova and Heidi Franz once again here. Burlova was 13th last season whilst racing for Lotto Dstny Ladies and should have a serious chance of breaking into the top-10 this season. She already impressed in Australia and she’ll now be back racing the Belgian calendar she knows well. Heidi Franz has shown she knows how to win in Belgium and her strengths lie in splitting up the race here. A strong blast on the cobbles could see Franz in the right small group that goes clear and from there anything is possible.

Lotto Dstny Ladies should have a few strong options at this year’s Le Samyn des Dames with Thalita de Jong in some superb form at the moment. Her best finish here is only 37th back in 2021 but she took a pair of top-10 stage results and finished 9th overall at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana which included plenty of climbing. She will be a favoured option from a small group. If it does come down to a sprint then it might become more of one for Katrijn de Clercq who took a host of top-10 results in lower-level Belgian races last season. She should improve on her 59th place from last season. Mieke Docx took 9th here last season as well and would be another useful fast-fisher option. She suffered a crash though in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana that ultimately saw her withdraw on Stage 3, which might just temper the expectations.

Danique Braam only has a best result of 19th at Le Samyn des Dames but is a regular contender in lower-level Belgian races. Braam had almost half a dozen top-10 results in Belgium, China and France last year and does well in races that are tough with a few hills involved. 

Monica Greenwood had a pair of top-10s in hilly Belgian races last year, including 4th at Leiedal Koerse and 5th at GP Eco-Struct. She was notably in the break on the final day at the UAE Tour Women but couldn’t quite hang on with stage winner Amber Kraak and ended up back in the pack. Le Samyn des Dames represents a chance to try and get a strong result early on this year.

Racing for the USA National Team is Skylar Schneider who had a similar experience to Greenwood with top-10s at GP Eco-Struct and Trofee Maarten Wynants last season. She has a quick finish and could be in with a shout for a similar result at Le Samyn des Dames.

Le Samyn des Dames 2024 Outsiders

Eliska Kvasnickova
Eliska Kvasnickova

Czech rider Eliska Kvasnickova is a rider with a fast finish but also an engine. She’s the national TT champion at just 19 but also took strong finishes in the top-10 on home roads at the Tour de Feminin and Gracia Orlova. Now racing for Team Komugi-Grand Est in 2024, she will be looking to move up a level.

Marith Vanhove is starting her 3rd season at what is now VolkerWessels and was previously Parkhotel Valkenburg. She’s another who can do well in the lower-level Belgian races, including 10th at Leiedal Koerse last season and a best result of 2nd at the Tour de Berlin Feminin which was a very flat race ending in a sprint. Now 20 years old with some decent experience, 2024 might be the year Vanhove pushes on a bit.

Monica Trinca Colonel was a strong rider who raced against Elisa Balsamo in her youth before stepping away from cycling. She came back to it and impressed the BePink-Bongioanni bosses during testing and has got off her UCI racing with a strong start. Finishing 29th in GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in what was a borderline WWT field was very strong. Belgian Classics racing might be a different kettle of fish but she is one to watch.

A proper wildcard option will be the Chinese riders Luyao Zeng and Xin Tang of Winspace. They both took multiple stage WWT top-10s at the Tour of Chongming Island last year, with Tang securing 8th in GC there and then 5th at the Tour of Guangxi follow-up race. Both riders are strong sprinters but have no experience racing in Belgium. Zeng has started 2024 with 5 races in Spain where her best result was 30th, whereas Tang is yet to race in 2024. 

Top 3 Prediction