Tim Merlier reinforced his position as the fastest man in the peloton by sprinting to victory on Stage Four of the Benelux Tour.
Having prevailed in the opening stage, the Belgian was led out superbly by his Alpecin-Fenix team and raced past Mads Pedersen and Danny van Poppel.
“It was an active race today,” Merlier said. “The team stayed together with me at the front and I am happy I made it for the team. It is a team victory.”
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'It was a team victory' - Tim Merlier praises Alpecin–Fenix after Benelux Tour stage Four win
The day’s stage began in dramatic fashion, as a mass crash prompted a 15-minute neutralisation of the race.
A host of attacks were pulled back, with the sprinters’ teams keen to ensure their men had a shot at victory into Ardooie.
Van Poppel went for a long solo bid for the line, but was marked by Pedersen who looked set to take the win until Merlier went for a gap between Van Poppel and the barriers.
Pedersen still looked like holding on, but Merlier found staggering pace in the final 100 metres to take his second stage of the race.
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