Le Samyn: Menten continues the good run by Lotto Dstny
Lotto Dstny continues its sparkling start to the season. Relegated to the second division at the start of the year, the Belgian team added a new success to their list by winning Le Samyn, their fourth victory of the year. Belgian Milan Menten won in the sprint in the streets of Doue ahead of Frenchman Hugo Hofstetter (Arkéa-Samsic) and Belgian Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo). “I arrived with a lot of question marks at the start,” Menten admitted. “It feels like a dream to be able to win here. I cannot believe it. My teammates made the race difficult, which was an ideal scenario for me. Thanks to their work, I arrived fresh in the last kilometers. After a complicated race, this type of finish suits me very well.” Note that European champion Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal – Quick Step), favorite for victory, was forced to retire following a crash.
The results: 1. Menten (Lotto Dstny) ; 2. Hofstetter (Arkéa-Samsic) ; 3. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)…
Grand Prix Criquielion: Welsfond let his power speak
For its premiere in category 1.1., the Grand Prix Criquielion provided a thrilling race scenario. Ending with a mass sprint, Sam Welsford (Team DSM) won with a blast ahead of the Belgian Milan Menten (Lotto Dstny), who came very close to his second victory in a week. Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) took third place. “It was a tough day and I’m really relieved to end it like this for the guys,” said the DSM rider from Australia. “They protected me and rode in the wind all day. In the last kilometers, it was quite tense, but the guys annihilated all the attacks. We knew it was a long uphill sprint, so we didn’t want to start too early. I knew it would come fast from behind, so I let a few guys get past me and then used them so I could slingshot past everyone. I’m delighted to get this first victory in a one-day race.”
The results: 1. Welsford (Team DSM) ; 2. Menten (Lotto Dstny) ; 3. Halvorsen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team)…
Strade Bianche Men’s : Pidcock, the art and the style
The mark of the greats. Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) performed a very high-flying number to win the Strade Bianche. Having attacked more than fifty kilometers from the finish, the Briton resisted the chase of the other favorites to enhance his record with a new prestigious victory. After the Olympic title in mountain biking in Tokyo in 2021, the world title in cyclocross last year as well as his stage victory at the top of Alpe d’Huez at the last Tour de France, the 23-year-old prodigy earned himself one of the most prestigious classics on the calendar. “When I went on the attack, it was absolutely not the plan,” he smiled after the finish. “Obviously that sector is normally a deciding spot, so I was just riding hard. I got a gap on the descent and just kept going. Many times they approached and I thought, ‘I’ve ruined everything, I’ve gone too soon and I wasted my shot here’. But in the end, I held them off. This week I had a good feeling, and I knew something good was going to happen. I knew today was my day. That it actually paid off is pretty amazing honestly. I don’t even know what to think right now.”
Pidcock triumphed in the streets of Siena alone, 20 seconds ahead of Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) who settled the group of chasers.
The results: 1. Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) ; 2. Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) ; 3. Benoot (Jumbo-Visma)…
Strade Bianche Women’s: Vollering – Kopecky, the royal duo for Team SD Worx
An unexpected end result. While she seemed ideally set to do a double at Strade Bianche, Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) was surprised… by her teammate Demi Vollering, who threw her bike over the line to grab the prestigious race for herself after her victories at La Course by le Tour and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021.
The Dutch team was a step above the rest on Saturday, able to play its two cards to perfection on the roads of Tuscany. “This win means a lot to me. I have always loved this race, but I have always had to work here for my teammates,” explained Vollering, who took second place overall at the Tour de France femmes avec Zwift 2022. This year, the team and especially Chantal van den Broek-Blaak told me that I really had to believe in myself at this event. It gave me a lot of confidence and I thank them for it.”
The American Kristen Faulkner (Team Jayco AlUla), caught in the last few hundred meters after a solo escape of more than 40 km, managed to take third, keeping her place on the podium.
The results: 1. Vollering (Team SD Worx) ; 2. Kopecky (Team SD Worx) ; 3. Faulkner (Team Jayco AlUla)…
Paris-Nice: Merlier takes the first yellow jersey
Enjoying an excellent start to the season, Tim Merlier (Soudal – Quick Step) confirmed his very good form by winning the first stage of Paris-Nice, this Sunday at La Verrière. The Belgian champion, who already has five victories since the start of the year, won ahead of Sam Bennett and Mads Pedersen. “I don’t know how I managed to win,” Merlier laughed at the finish. “To be honest, I don’t even know if I’m really the fastest. Everything is going well, I’m very, very happy with how I feel, in the team and on the bike, while I don’t even have my best watts yet compared to what I did last year. It’s probably because I have always been well placed, whereas last year I sometimes had to come from further away. I hope it will continue like this for a few more weeks, until Paris-Roubaix.”
This first stage was also marked by Tadej Pogacar’s attack in the final. The Slovenian took the opportunity to take six bonus seconds and is already on the podium in the general classification. The Race to the Sun continues until Sunday.
Next races :
Until 12/03 : Paris-Nice, https://www.paris-nice.fr/fr/
From 6 to 12/03 : Tirreno – Adriatico, https://www.tirrenoadriatico.it/