Sheyla Gutiérrez out-sprinted Amy Pieters Wednesday to win Le Samyn des Dames in Dour, Belgium. Riding for American team Cylance, the Spaniard collected her first win of 2017 in the 100.5km semi-classic race. Canyon-SRAM’s Tiffany Cromwell was third behind the Boels-Dolmans Dutchwoman.
Gutiérrez, 23, is in her second year with Cylance, but Le Samyn is her first win wearing the team’s green colors. Her team has had a run of success early in 2017, with new hire Kirsten Wild winning twice at the Santos Women’s Tour in Australia.
Organizers changed the course just hours before the race began in Quaregnon, shortening the opening lap and adding an additional local lap. With light rain dampening the roads, nine riders escaped after the first lap, taking advantage of one of the course’s difficult cobblestone sections as well as some crosswinds. By the final lap, the leaders had a decisive three-minute gap.
Pieters had teammate Christine Majerus in the early break, but the numbers advantage didn’t work in the end. Boels-Dolmans director Danny Stam admitted, “We underestimated Gutierrez.”
With two to go, the front group was pared down to five: Pieters, Cromwell, Gutiérrez, Romy Kasper (Ale-Cippolini), and Jessy Druyts (Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx).
“We knew this was a very good situation for us because we had a very good card to play up front, and still we had some different cards with Kirsten [Wild] and the rest of our strong team in the field,” said Cylance director Manel Lacambra.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Pieters added. “It was only the one other that was faster. I couldn’t have done anymore. Sheyla was really fast today, and now we know for next time.”