Niki Terpstra won the cobbled semi-classic for Patrick Lefevere's team 12 months ago, with Philippe Gilbert finishing second, after they'd come away from the opening weekend empty-handed. However, with Zdenek Stybar winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Bob Jungels claiming Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday, Tuesday will be a chance for the younger riders to show what they can do.
Florian Sénéchal, who was sixth at Kuurne on Sunday and third at Le Samyn three years ago, is set to lead the line. The 25-year-old, who is becoming an important part of QuickStep's Classics arsenal, is the only rider in the seven-man line-up to have ridden both races at the weekend.
Belgian domestique Tim Declercq, who often puts in the hard yards in the early phases of the races, rode the Olmoop, along with Belgian climber Pieter Serry, while 24-year-old Kasper Asgreen lined out at Kuurne. They will be joined by 23-year-old Frenchman Remi Cavagna, who won the Dwars door West-Vlaanderen last year, along with Davide Martinelli and the experienced Argentine lead-out man Max Richeze. Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen missed Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne due to illness and is expected to return to racing at Paris-Nice.
The 2019 Le Samyn will be the 50th edition of the race. The 201.4km course in the Wallonie region of Belgium features several short climbs and cobbled sectors, with four laps of a finishing circuit around Dour to decide the race.
"We expect a hectic race, with heavy winds and rain announced for tomorrow. We won't have a sprinter in the team, but as you could see in Kuurne, we are more than capable of fighting for victory even in these conditions", said Decueninck-QuickStep sports director Rik Van Slycke.
"The squad is very strong and we'll rely on such riders as Declercq, who is in a great shape, Sénéchal and Serry, who were very strong last weekend, and even Asgreen, who is discovering the cobbles. The harder the race, the better it will be for us."
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