The former French Champion came close to his first victory of the season Sunday afternoon.
Soudal Quick-Step rode a great race in Belgium, where the fifth edition of the Famenne Ardenne Classic took place over a hilly 188.1km parcours featuring plenty of short climbs. Our team took over the reins in the peloton as soon as they entered the local circuit, and showed its intentions with more than 60 kilometers to go, when Kasper Asgreen pushed hard and stretched out the bunch.
The elastic almost snapped, and as the peloton was a bit disorganised at the front, Okolo Slovenska winner Rémi Cavagna tried to take advantage of that. A handful of riders bridged across, and the newly-formed sextet applied some serious pressure on the chasers, who had to dig deep to bring them back. Going into the closing 30 kilometers, it was Yves Lampaert’s turn to test the waters, at first alone, and then part of a dup after he was joined by European Champion Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma).
Despite having at one point a promising 22-second gap, the group came back, but this didn’t stop the former Belgian Champion from trying again, and this time he almost made it together with a small group, only 1500 meters still standing them from the finish when the others overhauled them. In the last kilometer, one featuring some cobbles and gradually going up all the way to the line, Florian Sénéchal was well-positioned and did a truly great sprint, taking an impressive third place, less than a wheel separating him from Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Dstny), who took the victory in Marche-en-Famenne.
“We discussed in our meeting this morning that we wanted to go on the offensive, as we came with such a strong team here, and that’s what we did, going on the attack with many of our guys. While my teammates did this, I made sure to keep as much energy as possible in case it came down to a bunch sprint, especially as I felt good today. It was a close one, and this podium place gives me even more confidence for my next race”, explained Florian.
Photo credit: ©Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images