Putt fights cold and cobbles for 15th place at Le Samyn
QUAREGNON, Belgium – It was a cold, cruel day in Belgium. The hard, north eastern winds blew icy, sub-30 degree temperatures at the GP Le Samyn peloton the entire 200 kilometers of racing. Despite being a far departure from the bright and warm Colombia Oro y Paz a few weeks ago, the conditions were a surprise to no one. It’s an expected backdrop this time of year and one Tanner Putt always welcomes.
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“I prefer the cold and I like cobble races,” said Putt, who finished in 15th place.
Punctures, crashes and terrible weather conditions got the best of almost half of the peloton, making Putt’s achievement that much more notable. After almost five hours of racing, Niki Terpstra was the eventual winner and former world champion Phillippe Gilbert claimed second, both from Belgian based World Tour team Quick Step-Floors.
During the large 100km loop, a group of 13 riders escaped up the road which turned out to be the winning move. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team had four cobble heavy laps of 25 kilometres to try and turn the race around.
“We unfortunately missed the break, so when we got the finishing circuits we were active in trying to bridge across to the move, but unable to do so,” Putt said. “I felt good, so in the end I sprinted from the reduced peloton of maybe 30-40 guys to finish 15th overall. I think the team rode great for the first race back in Europe and after all the travel.”
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Director Hendrik Redant said Putt successfully held a good position in the peloton, which is crucial when hunting for a result in chaotic one-day classics-style races.
“It was good race for him,” Redant said. “However, our guys still need to learn some stuff, like eating enough in these extreme cold circumstances. There’s always the next race for new opportunities.”
The team remains in Belgium for the Johan Museeuw Classic, which kicks off March 4.
Photo Courtesy of Eric Marcotte