The 30-year-old Belgian was a cut above the rest on Sunday afternoon.
Tim Merlier netted Soudal Quick-Step’s 46th success of the season at the GP Fourmies, where he became the first Belgian in nine years to cross the finish line victorious. It was the 30-year-old ninth win of the season, moving him closer to his goal of going into double-digits in his first year with the Wolfpack – a target he talked about recently.
An undulating 197.6km course awaited the riders at the 90th edition of the French one-day race, where after a furious start with multiple attacks, the pace relented and five riders rode clear of the peloton. As soon as this happened, Soudal Quick-Step posted Tim Declercq at the front of the bunch, and “El Tractor” did again a flawless job, keeping the gap in check before gradually reducing it with each kilometer, unfazed by the many short climbs along the route.
After the breakaway was caught, another rider tried to slip away, but our team made sure of bringing him back with three kilometers to go. Things became hectic in the finale, but Tim Merlier remained in an excellent position at all times and opened up his sprint the moment he rounded the last bend of the race, giving no chance to his opponents and sailing to a clear win.
“The team did a great job today and I must thank them for that. I also had a good feeling and lots of confidence, which helped me when I lost the boys a bit in that crazy final kilometer. I opened up the sprint early, but I had enough power to hold it, and this makes me very happy. I’m looking forward now to my next appointment, the Tour of Slovakia”, said Tim after his 32nd pro victory.
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