Tim Merlier sprints to victory in Le Samyn as Mathieu van der Poel battles with bad luck
Mar 03 2021 01:24 am CET

Tim Merlier sprints to victory in Le Samyn as Mathieu van der Poel battles with bad luck
Tim Merlier sprints to victory in Le Samyn as Mathieu van der Poel battles with bad luck
Alpecin-Fenix

Alpecin-Fenix's Tim Merlier has taken the victory of the GP Le Samyn after his teammate Mathieu van der Poel suffered a mechanical problem in the very last stretch of the race.

The Belgian competition took the riders through a 205.4-kilometre-long route that included several challenging stretches of cobblestone. A group of 24 riders -that included names like Sep Vanmarcke, Victor Campenaerts and Mark Cavendish- formed an escape group quite early on the race.

With 40 kilometres to go, Alpecin-Fenix's Mathieu van der Poel launched an attack from the pack and this movement inspired the peloton to catch the remaining escapees quite soon. At the start of the last lap, with less than 30 kilometres to go, only around 50 riders remained in front and it was clear that the winner would have to come from there.

Soon after, Campenaerts tried his luck again and put up his time trial talents to work, but Deceuninck-Quick-Step pulled by the "Tractor" Tim Declercq managed to catch him. Several attacks happened in the next kilometres and although there were some attempts in the last cobblestone sector -in which Van der Poel's handlebars broke, everything came down to a final spring in which Merlier showed to be the strongest.

Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X Pro Cycling), Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Vanmarcke and Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) completed the top five of the day.





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