The semi-classic, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, takes place in the Wallonia region of southern Belgium, as opposed to the Flanders region in the north, but features similar terrain, with plenty of cobblestones and short climbs on offer.
Le Samyn does not have the same stature as the opening weekend or the bigger one-day races later in the spring but still serves up the same style of unpredictable racing, often in tough weather conditions. This year there are just three WorldTour teams on the start line, with AG2R La Mondiale joining the two big Belgian teams Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto Soudal.
QuickStep dominated here last year with a one-two with Niki Terpstra and Yves Lampaert. Patrick Lefevere's squad made a blistering start to the Classics campaign at the weekend, with Zdenek Stybar winning and Bob Jungels winning Kuurne. They are, however, putting out a slightly weakened team for Le Samyn, resting those two, Gilbert, and Yves Lampaert. Instead, Florian Senechal, Tim Decelercq, Remi Cavagna, and Piete Serry will lead the line.
Terpstra, who also won in 2016, will be on hand to try and back up his title, this time in the colours of French Pro Continental outfit Direct Energie. Jens Keukeleire leads Lotto Soudal while AG2R have Alexis Gougeard and Clément Venturini.
Le Samyn 20195 March 2019 | Dour