Chantal Blaak became the first woman to win Le Samyn two years in a row in Dour, Belgium Wednesday, out-sprinting Swede Emma Johansson, another former winner of the semi-classic.
“I feel pretty strong at the moment, and Saturday [at Het Nieuwsblad] gave me a lot of confidence already, but it’s not only me,” said Blaak. “It’s the team. The whole team works well together, and the whole situation in the team makes me better.”
Blaak’s Boels – Dolmans team forced a split in the crosswinds after about 30 kilometers of racing, forming a lead group of 23, with five Boels – Dolmans ladies in the mix. The 112.8km race finished with local laps around Dour, which included four tough cobblestone sectors. “The last lap, I tried to save my energy,” Blaak said. “The girls were attacking and reacting on other attacks. We were in every move.”
Blaak got the better of two Wiggle – High5 riders in the finale. Johansson’s teammate, Dutchwoman Amy Pieters, was third. “The attacks kept coming. Emma [Johansson] attacked in the last four kilometers, and I followed her,” Blaak said.
“I thought it was a good situation. I had been saving myself all day. I only now had to beat her in the sprint.”