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Starting at 14.30 CET, you can follow the expected battle between Nacer Bouhanni and Gerald Ciolek in the Wallonian season opener on

Photo: Sirotti
05.03.2014 @ 14:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A fantastic Belgian opening weekend kicked off the Flemish cycling season with victories for Ian Stannard and Tom Boonen, and now it is time for things to start in Wallonia. As usual, the opener is the exciting one-day race Le Samyn which is more comparable to a Flech classic and than a Wallonian race in the Ardennes. Cobbles and short, steep climbs are the main features on the course before it all usually comes down to an exciting sprint on the difficult uphill finishing straight in Dour where Nacer Bouhanni is the big favourite to take his second win in 2014. Starting at 14.30, you can follow the battle on


Le Samyn may not have the same kind of prestige as the weekend races in Flanders but the race is traditionally an aggressive and entertaining affair which is usually a rather open event as most of the biggest classics specialists are absent. The race kicks off in Frameries and ends 195.9km later in Dour. The first part consists of 110km that take the riders from the starting city to the finish line and which contain 5 typical Belgian climbs of which some are cobbled. However, the scene of the real drama are the 5 laps of an 21.3km circuit on which the riders will tackle the cobbled Cote de la Roquette and the Cote d'Audregnies.


The finishing circuit is made for attacks, and the finale is usually a very aggressive affair which requires full attention from the sprint teams if they want to keep things together for a sprint on the difficult uphill finishing straight. In the last five editions, Wouter Weylandt, Jens Keukeleire, and Arnaud Demare have all taken sprint wins in Dour while Dominic Klemme and most recently Alexey Tsatevich have succeeded in launching attacks in the hectic finale.


The big favourite is Nacer Bouhanni who loves this kind of uphill sprints that he will find in Le Samyn but he will be challenged by fast finishers like the defending champion Tsatevich, Gerald Ciolek, Kenny Dehaes, Andrew Fenn, Danny van Poppel, Yauheni Hutarovich, Stephane Poulhies, Romain Feillu, Danilo Napolitano, Michael van Staeyen, Baptiste Planckaert and Timothy Dupont. At the same time, his team needs to keep aggressive riders like Thomas De Gendt, Bjorn Leukemans, Anthony Roux, and Stijn Devolder under control to set up their fast captain for a sprint.


Starting at 14.30 CET you can follow the race here.



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