Niki Terpstra after Le Samyn victory: The team rode a textbook race
Feb 28 2018 05:11 am CET

Niki Terpstra after Le Samyn victory: The team rode a textbook race
Niki Terpstra after Le Samyn victory: The team rode a textbook race
Photo of Niki Terpstra (c)Sigfrid Eggers

Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) is happy to be the first rider to win Le Samyn more than once, despite the weather conditions that made the race very difficult.

In 2016, the Dutchman had already taken the victory of the race and two years later he came back to the top spot of the podium with the help of his team. It was a very difficult race with temperatures below zero and crosswinds that managed to create chaos in the peloton.

At the last kilometres of the race, Terpstra escaped from the front group along with his teammate Philippe Gilbert and Damien Gaudin of Direct Energie. The Quick-Step duo worked hard to keep a high pace and in the last kilometres the Dutchman launched an attack and went full-time trial mode, crossing the finish line on his own.

"I am very happy, but must say we suffered today with every kilometre because the cold made use spend a lot of energy," said the rider in the aftermath of the race. "It wasn’t easy to race in these conditions, but fortunately it worked out well for us at the end of the day.

"We knew the break was strong and the responsibility was on us, so that’s why we attacked in the crosswinds from afar. We went full gas and turned everything into an elimination race, with more and more guys getting tired and dropped. The team rode a textbook race, Philippe was perfect in the finale and we just made use of our numerical advantage, so that I could get away and take this beautiful win."

Gilbert returned to the podium a decade after his victory and was pleased with the result, considering that this has been the toughest race of his season so far. "Our team made the selection and once we split the peloton we had a dream scenario, with all our riders in the front," commented the Belgian. "I am really proud of the guys, they were incredible and this performance gives us even more confidence for the next races.

"The race was hard and alert, and Gaudin was very strong, so we knew we had to get rid of him, which we did thanks to a perfect tactic. I am happy for Niki and glad to see the form is there ahead of Strade Bianche, one of my favourite races of the year."



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