Le Samyn: 2 March 2021

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He rode that way because his handlebar broke apparently. His options were limited.
You don't think he'd been riding defensively even before his handlebar broke?

I reckon this was the plan from the get go. And it paid off since Merlier won. But from a viewer's perspective this was the worst Samyn edition in a long time. He's so strong and so feared that he can effectively change all race dynamics.
 
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DQS: "We got to isolate VDP and Van Aert and attack them like wolves. Aka Wolfpack"

Also DQS: Senechal kills his entire team with VDP in his wheel. VDP's teammate Merlier wins sprint with no DQS rider in sight.

Ah well, I guess it's easier with Alaphilippe on the team. But my point is, wtf was Senechal thinking
Doesn't make sense unless he had already noticed van der Poel's handlebar was in the fritz and thought he could drop Mathieu.
 
DQS: "We got to isolate VDP and Van Aert and attack them like wolves. Aka Wolfpack"

Also DQS: Senechal kills his entire team with VDP in his wheel. VDP's teammate Merlier wins sprint with no DQS rider in sight.

Ah well, I guess it's easier with Alaphilippe on the team. But my point is, wtf was Senechal thinking
Yeah, I wondered if this was some plan that was not adjusted well to the situation, or Sénéchal's own decision. In any case it was very strange.
 
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You don't think he'd been riding defensively even before his handlebar broke?

I reckon this was the plan from the get go. And it paid off since Merlier won. But from a viewer's perspective this was the worst Samyn edition in a long time. He's so strong and so feared that he can effectively change all race dynamics.
No i don't think this was the plan from the get go, considering Merlier was in the large break in the front, and Mathieu attacked in the back to close the break down.
 
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Doesn't make sense unless he had already noticed van der Poel's handlebar was in the fritz and thought he could drop Mathieu.
I do think this was the case. Van der Poel showed him his broken handlebar right after Sénéchal asked him to take over when they had just broken clear. With Mathieu unable to sprint Sénéchal probably tried to either drop him or get to the finish in the small leading group because he would be the fastest then.
 
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Merlier was isolated in a group with other riders from the same team. I could understand Alpecin not trusting that situation fully.
In that case you would simply put some other guys of the team at the front of the chase. To me it seemed a full out attack for him to bridge, not as a teammate move for Merlier, at that time. If it were to support Merlier, they could have closed the gap as a team and build from there.
 
In that case you would simply put some other guys of the team at the front of the chase. To me it seemed a full out attack for him to bridge, not as a teammate move for Merlier, at that time. If it were to support Merlier, they could have closed the gap as a team and build from there.
Yeah but that way they would have brought everybody along with them including the Quicksteppers though. Maybe they just wanted Mathieu to bridge the gap and maintain that group in front.
 
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In the men's race we saw for the first time that Alpecin can ride like a team.

In the women's race we saw a good win for Kopecky. She was strong on the cobbles and did a well-timed sprint, assisted by her teammates. She looks good for Paris-Roubaix, but there she will face Anna-Conda and some other strong Dutchies.
 
  1. Kudos to Campenaerts. He's an odd guy now and then, but also brings some colour to cycling. And when he's capable, he animates the race. Did a superb job today, even in the final kilometre.
  2. Weird situation with MvdP's handlebar. At first I thought it might had something to do with Canyon's new technology (which made people wonder about its security) but I think it was something else. I also believe that the pros don't have to ride with these 'adjustable-width-handlebars'.
  3. Vanmarcke's early season shape is more than ok.
  4. Philipsen's isn't.
  5. Cavendish isn't there yet, but on the other hand, it was kind of encouraging today.
  6. Kopecky could take the next step this year.
But from a viewer's perspective this was the worst Samyn edition in a long time.
The weather was a lot better, has something to do with it probably.
 
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Actually, we will. Just saw the interview of Merlier, who basically confirmed Mathieu was plan A.
Just read about the interview. He didn’t outright say Mathieu was plan A though. He said that they multiple plans. He did say that Mathieu still wanted to try something but he had a broken handlebar. I suppose you could read that as him being plan A....

Regardless, it makes more sense to want Mathieu to bridge the gap with as little in his wheel as possible than to bring everything back together including other contenders.
 
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Broken handlebars, though... I don't race, so I don't know about these things. But how can that happen without a crash?!
They have some kind of 3-piece bar apparently. Maybe that was a factor. Or just a defect. Either way, Canyon's brand takes a hit today, that's a bad, bad look.

EDIT: whoops! Didn't see the above. A bit too clever maybe, I'd prioritize safety over ease of transport. By like a million x...

That said, from the photo it looks like he's resting his right hand further out over the bar from where that separation is. Might actually just be a break.
 
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They have some kind of 3-piece bar apparently. Maybe that was a factor. Or just a defect. Either way, Canyon's brand takes a hit today, that's a bad, bad look.

EDIT: whoops! Didn't see the above. A bit too clever maybe, I'd prioritize safety over ease of transport. By like a million x...

That said, from the photo it looks like he's resting his right hand further out over the bar from where that separation is. Might actually just be a break.
Looked like it broke where most bars are bonded together where the shifter clamps.

 
Weird situation with MvdP's handlebar. At first I thought it might had something to do with Canyon's new technology (which made people wonder about its security) but I think it was something else. I also believe that the pros don't have to ride with these 'adjustable-width-handlebars'.
I'll repeat :p
 
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I'll repeat :p
Looks like it broke at the place most bars are bonded together where the shifter clamps - I'd assume the Canyon bars are no different regardless of the 3-piece design. It's very difficult to guarantee good compaction and laminate tolerance around the curved section taking the most stress of the shifter and weight of rider in drops pulling on them, so they generally make in multiple sections and bond together because it's stronger and easier to inspect before bonding together.
 
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If that had to happen (broken handlebars) I’m glad to see it happen today rather than during one of the races coming up the next several weekends. Hopefully they’ve identified any potential weakness with the bars ( though I’m sure Canyon will say it’s not a structural-design weakness, just a freak accident).
 
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