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Tim Merlier took his ninth win of the season, winning the bunch kick to the line at the GP de Fourmies-La Voix du Nord.
The Soudal-QuickStep rider sprinted through the final hectic bends in the road and the last hundred metres, pulling away from his rivals to take the win by half a bike length ahead of Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty) in second and Matteo Moschetti (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) in third.
The one-day GP de Fourmies-La Voix du Nord’s 197.6km held across a large circuit that started and finished in Fourmies. The race began with two intermediate sprints before hitting the larger circuit that included two short climbs’ Côte Bocquet (900m at 4.4%) and Sacre Coeur (800m at 6.5%). The peloton then raced over the Fourmies -rue Flament (400m at 5%) before they reached the smaller finishing circuit in Fourmies.
World champion Mathieu van der Poel joined Alpecin-Deceuninck at the race, which was expected to finish in a sprint with top sprinters in the field: Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny), Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep).
A breakaway emerged at the halfway point of the race that included Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Enzo Paleni (Groupama-FDJ), Petr Kelemen (Tudor Pro Cycling Team), Gage Hecht (Human Powered Health), and Maxime Jarnet (Van Rysel-Roubaix Lille Métropole.
Two teams did the bulk of the work, setting the pace in the peloton, were Jayco-AlUla and Soudal-QuickStep, keeping the breakaway at 1:15 with 40km to go.
De Bondt was the last rider in the breakaway that was caught by the main field with 10km to go. That led to a counterattack out of the field by Simon Pellaud (Tudor Pro Cycling Team). His efforts came to an end quickly; however, he was brought back into the fold as the AG2R Citroën Team pulled the field into the last 5km.
Soudal-QuickStep, Jayco AlUla, Uno X, and Groupama-FDJ all moved to the front inside 3km, all setting up their sprinters for the bunch sprint won by Merlier.
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