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Sam Welsford (Team dsm-firmenich) won a stunningly-close, four-way finish ahead of Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) in second and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in third, following a crash-laden final 10km of the penultimate stage of the race.
Welsford found himself the better of an Alpecin-Deceuninck squad which had dominated the final approach to the line, positioning Philipsen well for the finish as hit the tactically significant final corner at the front of the peloton with only 800 metres to the line.
De Lie was the first to make his sprint effort, carrying Welsford, Kooij and Tim Merlier ahead of Philipsen. But Welsford, who had left his effort a little later, was able to overpower the three sprinters to take a strikingly narrow sprint win.
A crash within the final few hundred metres took down Arnaud Démare and Fred Wright, following a crash at 8.3km remaining which took down dozens of riders.
More to come …
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