Merlier delivers Soudal Quick-Step’s 30th Giro win

Merlier delivers Soudal Quick-Step’s 30th Giro win

Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (Italy) - Press Release: Merlier delivers Soudal Quick-Step’s 30th Giro win.

Belgian sprinter honours Wouter Weylandt on the finish line.

Tim Merlier came out on top in Fossano after a breathtaking finale at the end of an awkward stage 3, signing off Soudal Quick-Step’s 120th Grand Tour stage victory. The Belgian, who is riding the Corsa Rosa for just the second time in his career, prevailed again in the region of Piemonte, just like he did in 2021, at his debut.

“It was a hard finale, the hardest of my career. The team did a great job to put me in a good position, and that’s why I want to say a big thank you to Bert, Julian, Luke and Mauri. They brought the attackers back just in time. Once this happened, I knew I had to jump like never before and that’s what I did. For a moment there, I lost the slipstream, but I found one quickly and confident in my legs and the fast Specialized bike I have, I gave my best and I am really happy now”, Merlier said moments after his eighth success of the season.

The stage that started from Novara, where Tim triumphed three years ago, had a slow first two hours, nobody being interested in forming a breakaway. Things completely changed after the first intermediate sprint, where almost all the fast men got involved in the fight for points. Soon after, those 25 riders, including Soudal Quick-Step’s Luke Lamperti and Tim Merlier, peeled away, kicking the stage into life and putting two minutes into the peloton.

That move made for an interesting development, with the bunch being forced to chase hard in order to bring them back, the catch happening only 44 kilometers from the line. The peloton continued as one until the punchier final kilometers, where the pink jersey attacked together with two other riders. This action spread panic in the field, who had to up the tempo on the flat three kilometers to the finish. Our team was among those committed to the chase, ramping up the speed on the finishing stretch and reeling in the trio with just 300 meters to go.

As soon as he found some space on the right side of the road, Merlier put in a massive acceleration that catapulted him into the prestigious maglia ciclamino, which he will wear on Tuesday. It was an emotional victory for Tim, who dedicated this win – just like the one of 2021 – to Wouter Weylandt.

“We knew there were going to be attacks on the last hill, but the team was amazing and made sure we had a bunch sprint today. I suffered in the finale, but I had the confidence I could get the win at the end of what was quite a strange stage. This victory is for Wouter, we miss him a lot even after all those years. It was an emotional moment, not just for me, but also for Iljo, who was in the car today”, added Tim.

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