77th Danilith Nokere Koerse
And in the end... Tim Merlier wins!
The odds-on favourite was outgoing winner and Belgian champion Tim Merlier. Moreover, he was in blood form; with a stage win in Paris-Nice as ultimate proof. Everyone, and there were a lot of people, at the start in Deinze agreed on that.
However, there was a lot of other sprinting violence at the start; Sam Welsford and Alberto Dainese for Team DSM, Pascal Ackermann of Team UEA, Gerben Thijssen of Intermarché and so on.
It was anything but a boring race. It rained attacks. Among others, former winner Ludovic Robeet, Jasper De Buyst and Sep Vanmarcke showed a lot of activity. The young and strong Groupama-FDJ team was also active. After an interlude by Samuel Watson, Laurence Pithie slipped along with Vanmarcke and an unleashed Florian Vermeersch.
Those three went very long and very far. But eventually Bert Van Lerberghe dragged the peloton and especially its leader Tim Merlier back to the front of the race. In the last kilometre the race ended in a sprint, with a strong Tim Merlier leaving Edward Theuns and Milan Menten behind him. The first Belgian podium in almost 30 years!