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“On the cobbled section I was pushing incredible watts and I was still losing the wheels of the guys in front of me. I could not understand why, and then in the end I discovered that my brake pad was rubbing my rim."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




04.03.2015 @ 20:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The organizers of Le Samyn threw a twist into this year’s edition by adding a 740-meter 3-star rated section of cobbles precariously placed two kilometers from the finish.


With the wind, hellingen, and the two-star cobbled Cote de la Roquette already battering the weary peloton on each of the final four 24.7-kilomter circuits, the extra cobbles did what organizers intended and pared the peloton to eight riders upon the final exit of the treacherous stones.


Slightly over 1.5 kilometers remained and the eight accelerated hard toward the finish line.



The experienced Classics team Etixx-Quick Step forced the split over the cobbles and with four out of the eight had a clear numbers advantage. However, Lotto Soudal’s Kris Boeckmans stole the thunder from the mighty Belgian squad; he jumped early and held off Gianni Meersman for the win.


After a day of fantastic teamwork, Giacomo Nizzolo entered the decisive final cobbles in great position, but struggled to hold the wheels over the jarring pavé.  It was not until later that he discovered the reason why.


“On the cobbled section I was pushing incredible watts and I was still losing the wheels of the guys in front of me. I could not understand why, and then in the end I discovered that my brake pad was rubbing my rim,” he explained.


“That is disappointing because I was in good position going into the last cobble section, around 10th position, but then I just could not follow. This group went and Marco [Coledan] and I were in the second group and we could not catch them back.”



The 201.2-kilometer semi-Classic began under cold, windy conditions and intermittent rain throughout the race added an extra level of misery and danger.  It did not deter the three men who escaped early on to form the day’s breakaway, and a nonchalant peloton paid them little regard.


At the start of the four laps marking the halfway point, the trio had gained over seven minutes lead as the peloton slowly awoke from its 102-kilometer slumber. Trek Factory Racing was one of the first teams to set the pace making followed by Etixx-Quick Step. 


“We had three fast guys going into today with Giacomo, Danny van Poppel and [Gert] Steegmans so we shared in a lot of the work to chase,” said sport director Dirk Demol.  “We knew that the parcours was trickier this year with the cobblestones in the finale, and overall we had more sections in the final 100kms. It was almost certain going to be a split over the last section, everyone knew this, but you have to have the legs to be there after such a tough race. Giacomo was there, and looked good….he mentioned he had a problem with his back wheel, and that’s a pity. We are, of course, disappointed; we had hoped for much more.”


Giacomo Nizzolo was the highest finisher in 27th place.  Although he was unable to repay the team with a result, he rewarded them with praise for the sacrifices they made all day:


“Anyway I have to say a big thank you to the guys today because they helped me a lot. The first part of the race I was not feeling so good – same sensation as last Saturday’s race – but in the second part I began to feel much better.  Kristof [Vandewalle] was there in the beginning and then everybody else later when it mattered. I am only sorry that I could not give them something back for that,” and then added, “Unlucky this time, but I think we are in a good way.”



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