Le Samyn 2017

March 1, 2017, Quaregnon, Hainaut, Road - 1.1

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Sadhbh O'Shea

Welcome to live coverage of Le Samyn

Le Samyn start list

Le Samyn des Dames report

Beginner's Guide to the cobbled Classics

  1. 14:58:57 CET

    The cobbled classics continue today with Le Samyn. There are five riders in the breakaway at the moment with just a minute on the peloton and it's coming down. 

  2. 15:01:03 CET

    The riders with the smallest of leads are Erwann Corbel, Kenneth Van Rooy, Gordon De Winter, Kevin Van Melsen and Joeri Stallaert. 

     

  3. 15:06:34 CET

    With around 100km to go, the leaders enter the four local laps with just 57 seconds between themselves and the peloton. 

     

  4. 15:10:03 CET

    The women's race finished not that long ago with Cylance's Sheyla Gutierrez winning ahead of Amy Pieters. We've got images from the race and brief results here

     

  5. 15:14:38 CET

    There are four cobbled sectors on each lap of 25km for the riders to tackle. Two of those sectors, Chemin de Wihéries and Rue de Belle Vue, have been given a three-star rating, the highest of the race. 

     

  6. 15:17:42 CET

    This is a picture of the very damp looking Rue de Belle Vue, courtesy of Belgian broadcasters Sporza. Should be a tricky traverse of these stones. 

     

     

  7. 15:18:45 CET

    As expected, the peloton has been split into pieces on the first local lap. Two main groups now chasing the leaders, who have just 20 seconds. 

     

  8. 89km remaining from 202km

    15:26:09 CET

    Only two riders left out ahead of the peloton now. Van Melsen and Corbel have just 15 seconds with 89km remaining. 

     

  9. 15:29:03 CET

    If you missed the news earlier, Velon and Infront announced a series of three-day races known as the Hammer Series, which they say will challenge the traditional racing format

  10. 85km remaining from 202km

    15:32:45 CET

    Van Melsen is the last man standing from the original break. He's trying to hold off the group but he's only got 10 seconds. 

     

  11. 15:36:56 CET

    Van Melsen's effort out front has been brought to a close and with 80km to go the break is done and dusted. 

     

  12. 15:41:40 CET

    With Van Melsen back in the bunch, there are other riders trying to get away. Loïc Chétout of Cofidis is one of those. The pace is very fast at the moment and the peloton is in one long line. 

     

  13. 15:45:41 CET

    The riders are into the second of four local laps. The rain is coming down and the riders are very muddy. Dries Devenyns and Benoit Jarrier are now trying their hand at a break. 

     

  14. 15:45:43 CET

    The riders are into the second of four local laps. The rain is coming down and the riders are very muddy. Dries Devenyns and Benoit Jarrier are now trying their hand at a break. 

     

  15. 15:50:23 CET

    Lots of movement and breaks keep trying to go and are being brought back. There's now about 6 or 7 riders with a small gap off the front of the bunch. Small groups all over the road. 

     

  16. 15:54:48 CET

    It's eight riders up front now. They are Dries Devenyns, Frederik Frison, Amund Grondahl Jansen, Loic Chtout, Benoit Jarrier, Kevin Ista, Brosi Vallee and Alex Kirsch. 

     

  17. 15:55:46 CET

    It's eight riders up front now. They are Dries Devenyns, Frederik Frison, Amund Grondahl Jansen, Loic Chetout, Benoit Jarrier, Kevyn Ista, Boris Vallee and Alex Kirsch. 

     

  18. 15:58:29 CET

    Guillaume Boivin has had to drop back to the cars. His bike appeared to be missing a saddle. 

  19. 16:00:53 CET

    The group of eight has been brought back. The pace of the peloton means that there are plenty of riders struggling off the back. This is one tough day out. 

     

  20. 16:05:33 CET

    Yet another move going off the front. Five riders this time. They are, Jesper Asselman, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Huub Duijn and Maarten Wynants. 

     

  21. 16:06:11 CET

    Apologies, but I missed Roy Jans off that list. He is the fifth man in that group. 

     

  22. 16:10:09 CET

    Time gap for the five escapees gives them 17 seconds on the peloton. Quick-Step are at the head of the bunch. 

     

  23. 52km remaining from 202km

    16:11:31 CET

    The leaders are on the Rue de Belle Vue sector of cobbled. Riders choosing to go right down the centre as it's very muddy and wet on either side. 

     

  24. 16:13:53 CET

    Breakaway working very well together but they're not making much more ground on the peloton. The gap is hovering around 20 seconds.

     

  25. 16:16:45 CET

    Jack Bauer is leading the chase for Quick-Step Floors. His efforts are paying dividends and the gap is coming back but not that quickly. 

     

  26. 16:19:55 CET

    Peloton has swept up most of the breakaway now. Just a few stragglers dangling off the front. 

     

  27. 16:20:33 CET

    Having been caught. Asselman went straight out the back of the group and is now back in the cars. 

     

  28. 16:23:01 CET

    More riders trying to attack. Three gone up the road now and they are Iljo Keisse, Jerome Cousin and Charlie Arimont.

     

  29. 16:27:33 CET

    The leaders have 20 seconds on the chasing pack at the moment with 43km.

     

  30. 16:29:29 CET

    The leading group has ballooned to around 12 riders. We'll bring you more names when we get them. 

     

  31. 16:32:51 CET

    A crash in the peloton has taken down a couple of riders. It looks like there may have been a touching of wheels and one of the riders is now waiting on the side of the road for a new bike but both seem ok. 

     

  32. 35km remaining from 202km

    16:35:04 CET

    Another minor crash as one of the Sport Vlaanderen riders miss-judges a corner on the cobbles. Up front, the leaders have 20 seconds but have not been able to get much more than that. 

     

  33. 16:36:15 CET

    Van Keirsbulck has attacked the leading group, and is trying to go it alone. He's got a small gap on them. 

     

  34. 16:38:35 CET

    Van Keirsbulck has been joined by his former teammate Keisse. The gap between the two leading groups remains small but the injection of pace has increased the gap to the peloton to 36 seconds. 

     

  35. 16:39:48 CET

    The increase in gap has brought a small sense of panic in the peloton as they really start pushing. The peloton has drastically decreased to around 40 riders. This weather and speed is taking its toll. 

     

  36. 16:41:32 CET

    Up front, it's very strung out but the leading group is pretty much together. They have 33 seconds on the bunch. 

     

  37. 16:42:48 CET

    The full complexion of the leading group: Keisse, Van Keirsbulck, Wynants, Van der Sande, Delaplace, De Buyst, Gerard, Krisch and Pardini. 

     

  38. 16:43:49 CET

    Florian Senechal is trying to bridge the gap tot he leaders. He's not really getting very far but he keeps trying nonetheless. 

  39. 27km remaining from 202km

    16:46:29 CET

    The gap to the escapees began dropping and went as low as 24 seconds. They have stopped attacking each other for the time being and are working better together. They gap has gone back to 30 seconds as they hit Rue de Belle Vue once again. 

     

  40. 16:48:13 CET

    With Senechal unable to get across to the breakaway group, Cofidis has come together and is now making a more concerted effort on the front of what we might call the peloton, although there is little left of it now. 

     

  41. 16:49:43 CET

    Cofidis' efforts are really doing some damage and they have forced a split with about 10 riders moving clear. Quick-Step has large numbers in that Cofidis-led group. 

     

  42. 16:50:55 CET

    The breakaway keep looking over their shoulders and rightly so. Their advantage has fallen dramatically to just 18 seconds as they cross the line for the penultimate time. The bell is chiming.

     

  43. 16:52:38 CET

    The weather really is very... well, Belgian. The rain is still coming down and the riders look like the team showers are going to be very busy after the race. 

     

  44. 23km remaining from 202km

    16:53:14 CET

    Just 10 seconds separate the two groups, as the peloton comes back together. 

     

  45. 16:54:59 CET

    Kirsch has attacked and he is quickly followed by one of the Lotto Soudal riders. 

     

  46. 16:55:56 CET

    Van Keirsbulck goes over too as the peloton has the break in their sights now. 

     

  47. 20km remaining from 202km

    16:57:22 CET

    The rest of the breakaway has been caught and it's just that trio out front. The Lotto Soudal rider is Tosh Van der Sande. 

     

  48. 16:59:35 CET

    Van der Sande was in the breakaway in last year's race and said this morning he was hoping for much of the same, although he hopes to get the win this time around. 

     

  49. 17:01:44 CET

    Van Keirsbulck is looking pretty strong today. He is riding for Wanty this season after a disappointing 2016 with Etixx-Quick-Step. A result here would be a big morale boost for the Belgian. 

     

  50. 17km remaining from 202km

    17:02:33 CET

    25 seconds for the leaders as Quick-Step try to bring this back. 

     

  51. 17:04:51 CET

    Gerard drops off the back of the bunch. He's got a puncture. 

     

  52. 15km remaining from 202km

    17:05:42 CET

    Just 15 seconds for the three escapees. This is going to go down to the wire.

     

  53. 17:06:24 CET

    Free wheeling int he breakaway group. They've given up it seems. 

     

  54. 13km remaining from 202km

    17:07:23 CET

    Peloton just 11 seconds back now. An overhead shot shows just how much is has diminished. Around 25-30 riders remaining in the main group. 

     

  55. 17:08:27 CET

    No, it looks like Van Keirsbulck isn't quite ready to give up on this. He moves to the front and gets into TT mode. Van der Sande and Kirsch are happy to sit in his wheel. 14 seconds now for the trio with just under 13km to go. 

     

  56. 17:09:21 CET

    These cobbles are really slippy and the riders are having to take a lot of car on the corners. With so few kilometres remaining, they can't afford any mistakes. 

     

  57. 17:09:51 CET

    Van der Sande has been dropped from the leading group. Just two riders remaining. 

     

  58. 17:10:49 CET

    Van Keirsbulck attacks on the cobbles with 11km to go. Kirsch is having to dig deep to keep up. 

     

  59. 17:11:50 CET

    Kirsch is back with Van Keirsbulck. The two only have 12 seconds as Senechal, Keisse and Wynants attack from the peloton. 

     

  60. 10km remaining from 202km

    17:12:23 CET

    Senechal was third in last year's race and he's determined to get on the podium again this year. 

     

  61. 17:13:41 CET

    The time gap says 18 seconds for the two leaders but through the lights of the cars it looks like there are some riders catching them. 

     

  62. 17:14:32 CET

    Van Keirsbulck attacks again and Kirsch is having to sprint to stay with him. 

     

  63. 7.8km remaining from 202km

    17:15:52 CET

    The duo have 21 seconds on the chasers and now have 36 seconds on what is left of the peloton. 

     

  64. 17:18:23 CET

    There are going to be some very fine margins here as Kirsch flicks his elbow to ask Van Keirsbulck to do a bit of work. They still have 20 seconds with 6km to go. 

     

  65. 4km remaining from 202km

    17:20:28 CET

    At the moment, it looks like the win is going to be between Kirsch and Van Keirsbulck. There's still 4km to go but they are holding off the chasers for now. 

     

  66. 17:20:55 CET

    The peloton is well and truly out of it at 50 seconds behind the leaders.

     

  67. 17:22:02 CET

    Wanty are in the driver's seat anyhow with a rider up front and in the second group. 

     

  68. 17:22:58 CET

    As I write, Van Keirsbulck attacks again. He gets a small gap but Kirsch is grinding away and gets back to him. Is Van Keirsbulck burning his matches too early or is he softening up Kirsch?

     

  69. 2.5km remaining from 202km

    17:23:21 CET

    The leaders are onto the final sector of pave, the Rue de Belle Vue. 

     

  70. 17:24:16 CET

    It's still 20 seconds with 2km to go. This is going to be close. Can anyone bridge over to the two leaders?

     

  71. 1.7km remaining from 202km

    17:24:49 CET

    Senechal is trying to get across. He's pushing the pace on the front of the chasing group and has a small gap. 

     

  72. 17:25:56 CET

    The rain is really coming down on the riders. It has been a torrid day out there as they enter the final kilometre

     

  73. 17:26:23 CET

    The chasing group is all over the place as they make some last-ditch attempts to jump across to the leaders. 

     

  74. 17:26:39 CET

    Wyanants attacks from the second group. 

     

  75. 17:27:08 CET

    Van Keirsbulck attacks from the escape group but still has Kirsch in his wheel. 

     

  76. 17:27:28 CET

    Lots of street furniture to manage as they hit the final stretch

     

  77. 17:28:04 CET

    Van Keirsbulck wins by a hair's breadth over Kirsch. 

     

  78. 17:29:12 CET

    A fine win by Van Keirsbulck and well deserved. He's looked strong all day, getting into several breaks and doing most of the work up front too. 

     

  79. 17:29:57 CET

    Kirsch started up the sprint and it looked like he might have it but Van Keirsbulck passed him with about 50m to go. 

     

  80. 17:30:33 CET

    Here is a brief look at how it finished there, with Keisse taking the final podium spot. 

     

    1 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
    2 Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
    3 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
    4 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits

     

  81. 17:34:14 CET

    That was a very hard day out there and Van Keirsbulck could hardly find the words in his post-race interview. Here's what he said - a warning for those of a sensitive disposition, there is some bad language:

    "It was like last year. Last year I had a problem in the last lap. It was a really hard race and I was able to win.

    "I’m very happy. It’s the first year I could do it for myself and it’s nice to win the third race in the [Classics]… a fuck. I felt at the end I was done." 

     

  82. 17:40:02 CET

    The full top 10:

    1 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
    2 Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
    3 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
    4 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    5 Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
    6 Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
    7 Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
    8 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
    9 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
    10 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors

     

  83. 17:46:15 CET

    A picture of a muddy Van Keirsbulck talking at the finish, courtesy of ZikloLand.

     

  84. 17:51:08 CET

    You can find our report of today's action here, with full results and photos to come soon. 

     

  85. 17:55:25 CET

    That is it from us today. We'll have action from Strade Bianche at the weekend, so we'll see you then. 

     

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