"Didn't expect this, because I'm certainly not in top form" - Tim Merlier dominates sprint rivals at Baloise Belgium Tour despite post-Giro tiredness

Tim Merlier has been in electric form in 2024 and that continued on stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour as the Soudal - Quick-Step sprinter dominated all rivals to take his 11th victory of the campaign.

"I felt it was a good moment. There wasn't much speed due to the headwind and I think I had everything under control until the last kilometre," analyses the 31-year-old Belgian of the sprint finale in his post-stage interview afterwards. "I chose my position the way I wanted and deliberately sat a little further in that last corner, because I knew it was possible. That was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out well."

After having taken three wins at the recent Giro d'Italia, including on the final stage in Rome, Merlier fought off tired legs and competition from the likes of Jasper Philipsen and Olav Kooij to take his first career stage win at the Baloise Belgium Tour.

"I have ridden this stage here many times, but this is my first win here in the Baloise Belgium Tour. That's been checked off," he says with a smile. "I really didn't expect this, because I'm certainly not in top form. I was a bit afraid of my sprint, which might have slowed down a bit compared to the fresher men here. The best form has disappeared after the Giro d'Italia, but if you win here, you cannot be disappointed."

Results: 2024 Baloise Belgium Tour stage 2

1 MERLIER Tim Soudal Quick-Step 20 03:59:22
2 PHILIPSEN Jasper Alpecin-Deceuninck 15 + 00
3 KOOIJ Olav Team Visma | Lease a Bike 10 + 00
4 BARBIER Pierre Philippe Wagner-Bazin 5 + 00
5 TAMINIAUX Lionel Lotto Dstny 3 + 00
6 TEUNISSEN Mike Intermarché-Wanty + 00
7 WÆRENSKJOLD Søren Uno-X Mobility + 00
8 THEUNS Edward Lidl-Trek + 00
9 THIJSSEN Gerben Intermarché-Wanty + 00
10 KOPECKY Matyas Team Novo Nordisk + 00

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