Tim Merlier has withdrawn after a surprise attack from Pogacar in the end: “Perhaps the toughest victory ever”


Tim Merlier had to work extremely hard for it. With a powerful final shot he beat Jonathan Milan to the finish, good for his 8th victory of the season. In this way, the Belgian once again showcases his capabilities as a race sprinter. “Although I couldn’t find a slipstream anywhere in the last kilometer,” he panted during the flash interview.

“This was perhaps the toughest victory so far.”

Tim Merlier knows what suffering is like after stage 3 in the Giro. In the end, the former Belgian champion saw one Tadej Pogacar tear the pack to pieces with a surprise attack on a gentle slope.

The peloton had to do everything it could to regain the pink jersey just before the finish.

“It was such a tough final,” gasps our compatriot. “When we came back, I couldn’t find a slipstream in the last kilometer.”

“I saw Milan start his sprint from the left. I knew I was 1st or 2nd, so I’m happy that I could still win.”

The team has done a good job to get me this far.

Tim Merlier

Fortunately, the race sprinter could count on his team in a turbulent final.

“I was well surrounded by Van Lerberghe, Vansevenant, Alaphilippe, …”, Merlier goes down the list of Soudal – Quick Step. “The team has done a good job to get me this far.”

Yet our compatriot almost did it on his own earlier in the stage, when he opted for the open water in an elite flight full of sprinters.

“At one point I told the boys to watch out for the run,” Merlier laughs. “Eventually we got there, but I felt that the breakaway was not favorable for us, because other teams had more riders. So I just slowed things down.”

The right bet – unlike Pogacar’s in the final – as it turned out.

Vansevenant: “Proves again that he is there”

“Tim is one of the fastest men in the peloton. It wasn’t easy, but he proves once again that he’s up there,” Mauri Vansevenant responds in front of our microphone.

He also had to work hard to catch up with the Slovenian phenomenon: “Pogacar’s attempt was courageous, but very difficult with such a long straight at the end.”


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Tim Merlier withdrawn surprise attack Pogacar toughest victory


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