Tim Merlier has his revenge and majestically wins the prestige sprint from ex-teammate Jasper Philipsen

Tim Merlier has his revenge and majestically wins the prestige sprint from ex-teammate Jasper Philipsen
Tim Merlier has his revenge and majestically wins the prestige sprint from ex-teammate Jasper Philipsen

How did the victory come about?

In the bunch sprint of course, as befits the oldest Flemish classic. Merlier, perfectly positioned by his blood friend Bert Van Lerberghe, started the sprint from afar. On the line he was two bikes ahead of Jasper Philipsen, who got boxed in by Groenwegen and Hofstetter and was able to sprint free too late. It was already his seventh victory of the season for the 31-year-old Merlier. This puts him at the top of the international rankings, together with Jonas Vingegaard and Mads Pedersen.

This victory, in front of his girlfriend Cameron and mother of his son Jules Frank, is also a boost for Patrick Lefevere’s team, which has not really featured in the story in recent weeks. Although that is not the fault of the 31-year-old Merlier himself, because he struck just as impressively in Danilith Nokere Koerse. Then the ‘Vlam van Ham’ also finished in second place.

The storyline was again paper thin. Because the wind did not reach the expected speed of fifty kilometers per hour, as they hoped in Zeeland, it became somewhat quiet after an hour of fighting the wind.

They entered the Churchilllaan in Schoten for the first time with five, but Bora-hansgrohe, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Soudal Quick-Step kept everything neatly under control. The closer Baptiste Planckaert, Vincent Van Hemelen, Liam Slock, Stijn Appel and David Huens were caught to the finish, the more chance we had of an effective mass sprint.

Slock and Planckaert lasted the longest, but with only half a minute at thirty kilometers from the end, the peloton played cat and mouse with the two Belgians. The punishment was that the trains already started to form from 22 km from the end. Slock couldn’t get enough of it. When Planckaert also called it a day, the professional from Zeveneken continued alone, but eight kilometers from the finish, on the cobblestones of the last Broekstraat, he finished.

© Getty Images

What happened at the beginning of the match? It was quite hectic. Immediately Liam Slock (Lotto-Dstny), Daniel Arnes (Uno-X Mobility), Mirko Bozzola (Q36.5), Bram Dissel (Beat Cycling) and Peder Dahl Strand (Tarteletto-Isorex) opened away. Because there was immediately a lot of crosswind, the peloton fell apart very quickly and the flight was short lived.

The first group included Alpecin-Deceuninck and Soudal Quick-Step. In the second range Bora-hansgrohe and Lidl-Trek. After a hunt of more than twenty kilometers, Sam Welsford and Edward Theuns, the two leaders on duty, were able to join the front again. Afterwards there was peace again in the peloton. Until Baptiste Planckaert, Liam Slock, David Huens, Vincent Van Hemelen and Stijn Appel took the lead 96 km from the end. Alpecin-Deceuninck, Soudal Quick-Step and Bora-hansgrohe could live with that and allowed them to take a maximum lead of three and a half minutes.

While Liam Slock remained alone in the lead, Tim Merlier changed bikes 14 km from the finish. Moscon and Vangheluwe waited for him at the tail of the peloton and then brought him back to the head of the peloton. With 6 km to go, the Wortegem-Petegem native was again in position to sprint.

© Getty Images

What did the Belgians do?

Gerben Thijssen was the unlucky one of the day. His Scheldeprijs lasted twenty minutes. After a mishap at the motorway exit, he ended up next to the road, wanted to jump on again and grabbed his teammate Arne Marit, the other sprinter from Intermarché-Wanty, with him. The Limburger, one of the candidates on the podium, ended up in the hospital of Malle where not only his hand was stitched but also an ankle fracture was diagnosed. And that is exactly the same fracture that his teammate also suffered. Both the Stasegem resident and the Vollezelen resident are out for weeks.

Jules Hesters (Flanders-Baloise) fell late in the race, but fortunately only suffered abrasions so that his participation in Paris-Roubaix is ​​not jeopardized.

Liam Slock was the common thread of this Scheldeprijs. The second-year professional from Lotto-Dstny was in the first two flights of the day and was also the last to be picked up by a hurried peloton on…

Robbe Ghys was Jasper Philipsen’s right hand all day long. When the ‘Vlam van Ham’ made a sanitary stop 52 km from the finish, the Limburger also waited. A role that he will in principle also take to heart in the Tour de France.

Anything else you should know?

Ryan Mullen was not there. The Irishman had been announced at Bora-hansgrohe, but Sam Welsford and Danny van Poppel had to do without their Irish pace beast.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Tim Merlier revenge majestically wins prestige sprint exteammate Jasper Philipsen


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