Niki Terpstra broke away with 18km to go to take a solo win at the Le Samyn by 19 seconds.
The Dutch Etixx-Quick Step rider broke from the 18 man group on the final lap of the finishing circuit at the Belgian race. He was chased down admirably by Scott Thwaites but had too much power for the Yorkshireman, who finished in second place. Cofidis’ Florian Senechal sprinted to third place 37 seconds down.
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The Flandrian race was blighted with dreadful conditions that left the cobbled sections as treacherous minefields. The race was run on a 202.6km course that finished with four laps of a 25 km loop.
The action was focussed on an 18 man group that broke away early from the rest of the field. Phillipe Gilbert (BMC), the only competing former winner of the race, was put out of contention early on after being forced to retire due to back pain.
35km out, Katusha’s Nils Pollitt made a solo beak and with one lap to go was maintaining a seven second lead over the group. He was soon caught by Senechal and they remained at the front until the attack of Terpstra and Thwaites reeled them in.
Ultimately, Terpstra had too much for Thwaites. He powered ahead of the Bora Argon 18 rider and looked untroubled all the way to the finish line. Thwaites held off a chasing group of three to finish 19 seconds back.
Le Samyn 2016 (202.6km)
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick Step, in 4-52-48
2. Scott Thwaites (Gbr) Bora-Argon 18, at 19 secs
3. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, at 37 secs
4. Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team,
5. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha, both the same
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL – Jumbo, at 44 secs
7. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Katusha, the same
8. Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, at 46 secs
9. Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL – Jumbo, at 48 secs
10. Tony Hurel (Fra) Direct Energie, at 1-00