Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (France) - Press Release: The Belgian Champion is the first leader of the race after his spectacular stage 1 victory.
Tim Merlier won on the opening day of a stage race for the third time this season. After his successful outings with Soudal Quick-Step at the Tour of Oman and the UAE Tour in February, the 30-year-old repeated the feat also in Paris-Nice, at his debut here.
The Wolfpack’s most successful rider so far this season, Tim benefited from another outstanding job from his teammates, who not only controlled the early breakaway, but neutralized two dangerous attacks in the last hour of the race, the last of which was with just three kilometers to go. Kasper Asgreen and Mauro Schmid then stretched out the peloton before French Champion Florian Sénéchal picked up the pace, drilling it at the front until 300 meters to go.
Just like in the Middle East, Tim remained calm and kicked out 200 meters from the line, bursting clear of his opponents and scoring his fourth victory of the year with another hugely impressive sprint. The win in La Verrière came along with two visits to the podium for Tim, who got in possession of the yellow and green jersey.
Photo credit: ©Alex Broadway / Getty Images.