Tim Merlier crushes competition
The 26 year old Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) wins Nokere Koerse . In the final sprint he easily won against Max Walscheid and co. Arnaud De Lie, who is celebrating his birthday, finished in third place.
Tim Merlier's first participation and immediately a prize. A dream scenario for the 30-year-old from Kortrijk. The winner recently won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico and has now also won Nokere Koerse. As a little boy he regularly came to watch this race. After the race he said that the race was a home game. All the supporters certainly made sure of that. A massive crowd of fans at the 76th edition of Danilith Nokere Koerse pushed the riders to the front.
A group of five riders broke away from the peloton early in the race. Lagrée (B&B Hotels-KTM), Carpenter (Human Powered Health), Verwilst (Sport-Vlaanderen-Baloise), Vanoverschelde (Tartaletto-Isorex) and D'Heygere (Minerva Cycling Team) rode alone on the first passage at Nokereberg. Afterwards one of the favourites, Hugo Hofstetter (Team Arkea - Samsic) crashed. While he was looking to rejoin the peloton, other teams without a sprinter tried to destabilise the race. Just before the second passage, the leading group was caught. Not only in the women's race, but also in the men's there were some crashes. Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) crashed together with Louis Blouwe (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB).
Later in the race a group of five riders reappears: Andreas Goeman (Tarteletto-Isorex), Casper van Uden (DSM), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauzen-WB) battle for the mountain classification. It is youngster Andreas Goeman who succeeds.
All the riders come together again in the final race. The winner will be decided in a mass sprint. In the end it is Tim Merlier who lives up to his role as favourite. He wins the sprint convincingly over Max Walscheid. Arnaud De Lie completes the podium. Just like last year, when Ludovic Robeet (Bingoals Pauwels Sauces WB) won, a Belgian rider wins again.