Tim Merlier drove a great long sprint in Novara. Was it his intention to engage from that far?

“Because a rider from UAE dropped a hole, I suddenly had to start. In itself I didn’t think that was bad, because that was how I got up to speed”, Merlier tells his story.

“I heard on the radio that you only saw the line 100 meters before the finish. That’s why I wanted to start as soon as possible. I knew the other sprinters would be surprised.”

Merlier crossed the line with a W gesture in honor of Wouter Weylandt. Exactly 10 years ago, Weylandt died in the Giro after a fall.

“I had been thinking about that victory gesture for a while. When I was a little man, I looked up at Wouter. We rode together in the Scheldt platoon.”

Merlier follows in the footsteps of beautiful people. He is the first Belgian to win a Giro sprint since the late Wouter Weylandt. He is also the 1st Belgian to win a Giro stage in Novara since Eddy Merckx.

“It makes me a bit emotional”, says Merlier with the beautiful points jersey around his shoulders. “I am very proud.”

“My team also did a fantastic job today. In the last 20 kilometers they kept me in the perfect position. Krieger launched me well in the end.”

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