Binche – Chimay – Binche 2016 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Binche – Chimay – Binche 2016 Preview

By David Hunter

Binche – Binche 194.5km


The season is almost over, but we still have time for a couple of cracking races. This is one of them.

Despite lacking real climbing, this can still be a selective race. This is mainly due to the circuit, which features a tough ride up towards the finishing line, plus we have cobbles in the final kilometre.


A sunny day, with wind approaching 20km/h. Crucially, the wind is ENE, meaning crosswinds for the majority of the day. It’s not the strongest wind but the direction is perfect to split the race up.


Despite being a “smaller” race, we are blessed with some of the world’s finest. With Etixx, Lotto, Jumbo, FDJ, BMC and IAM we have some strong looking squads. Etixx will be up to their usual tricks, trying to split the race at every opportunity. It’s up to the other teams to stop them. Lotto also seem to have plenty of strong riders here, expect to see them adopting similar tactics.


Greg Van Avermaet – the Olympic champion is here, everybody had better watch out! After failing to challenge in the Eneco Tour, GVA will be looking for a big result before heading off to Qatar. The little climb at the end of the circuit, is wonderful news for the Belgian rider. BMC have a strong team here, all focussed on helping their team leader.

Tom Boonen – crashed out of the Eneco Tour, but returned on Sunday. Despite looking to be missing a little race sharpness, he still managed to finish 3rd. His crash has certainly interrupted a good spell of form and he’ll be looking for a positive sign before going to Qatar.

Fernando Gaviria – the young Colombian needs to learn when to let his teammates do the work. In recent races, he has been too keen to breakaway and use up some of his energy. Given his fast finish, he should be happy letting his team hold the race together and bring it back for a sprint.

Jurgen Roelandts – was looking good on Sunday, but crashed and blew his chance. His season hasn’t been an overwhelming success, but he still managed to surprise and finish 3rd in Milan-Sanremo. He certainly gives Lotto a good option here.

Jens Debusschere – third here in 2014, this is a good race for the fast finishing Belgian rider. He started the year in good form, winning DDV, but a crash in GW really interrupted his form. Since returning, he has struggled to find his top form. He should be Lotto’s number one rider here.

Arnaud Demare – the Frenchman has had a fine season and is again starting to hit a peak. He was solid in the Eneco Tour and 2nd in the recent Brussels Classic. Demare should like this finish, but his team will need to be watchful when the crosswinds hit. Their team is not as strong as the Belgians.

Tom Van Asbroeck – after taking the win on Sunday, Jumbo will hope to continue their good run. Van Asbroeck will take over as captain, he finished 3rd here in 2015. They have a strong team and will hope to benefit from some echelons.

Oliver Naesen – what form he has just now. Was robbed of victory on Sunday, as Groenewegen should really have been demoted. Naesen is riding as only most can dream of. Coming to the end of his first season in the World Tour, it really has been a wonderful season for him. After winning in Plouay, he was on attacking form in Canada, before finishing 2nd in the Eneco Tour. He might not ride for the strongest team, but he will be a very hard man to beat.

Dimi Claeys – close friend of Naesen and has also enjoyed a wonderful season. Back in the big time, Claeys won a stage in Tour de Wallonie and also tasted success in Grote Prijs Jef Scherens. His good form has seen him sign for Cofidis, a good move for both parties. A strong rider, with a fast sprint.

Baptiste Planckaert – another rider who has secured a big move. After a tremendous 2016, the Belgian is off to Katusha. He will look for a high finish here, but will struggle against some of the stronger riders.

Timothy Dupont – outstanding recent form for the Verandas Willems rider. He can mix it with the big boys and I have a lot of respect for his team. Hopefully he is still in contention as we approach the finish.

Bryan Coquard – form has not been at his usual level. If the wind picks up, I doubt we’ll see him fighting for the win. Needs an easy day, if he is to win this race.

Prediction Time

Etixx v Lotto v Van Avermaet v Naesen.

I think the wind will split the race up and we’ll get a reduced peloton by the time we return to Binche. It would be great if we had a group of four, with a rider from Etixx and Lotto joining Naesen and GVA. If that did happen, Naesen and GVA would join together, as they are great friends off the bike.

Naesen will go close again, but I cannot ignore Van Avermaet. Given the wind and the route, he has to be the big favourite for the race. I still hope Naesen wins though!

David Hunter

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