Tim Merlier carried the flag for the team in Germany.
Starting in Osnabrück and finishing in Münster, the 18th edition of the Sparkassen Giro got off to an insane start, the heavy rain and vicious winds splitting the peloton in the first 30 kilometers.
Coming off the back of a very solid ride at the Gravel European Championships, Tim Merlier was there for Soudal Quick-Step, part of the strong group which went on to gain almost two minutes on the peloton with around 120 kilometers to go. The double Belgian Champion did his best to hang in there for as long as possible, but the big tempo and the succession of climbs distanced him from the front with 80 kilometers to go.
The bunch – where Merlier could be found initially after losing contact with the first group, but without many of his teammates, who had been involved in crashes – reduced the gap to just a minute, but couldn’t catch the escapees, from where Per Strand Hagenes (Jumbo-Visma) attacked and soloed to victory.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images