Merlier takes final stage as Grégoire wins 4 Jours de Dunkerque

Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep)
Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) (Image credit: DAVID PINTENSBelgaAFP via Getty Images)

Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) won the sixth and final stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque on Sunday. The Belgian Champion edged out Erlend Blikra (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) and Cees Bol (Astana Qazaqstan Team) in a bunch sprint.

"The team worked well, I wasn't further than 30th [in the peloton] today, they were very strong all week. I am happy to finish with a victory because we worked hard this week. We have a victory and a podium placing," said Merlier.

Finishing safely in the peloton, Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ) claimed the 67th edition of the race and the first general classification of his career.

"The week was very intense, every day there was stress and pitfalls to avoid," said the 20-year Frenchman who was quick to thank his team. "I owe them this victory entirely."

"Again today, the team was nervous when the Soudal Quick-Step team who attempted to drop us. We answered present," added he youngest rider to win the 4 Jours de Dunkerque overall.

How it unfolded

An early breakaway escaped in the first 108 kilometres which included the two categorized climbs of Mont des Cats and Mont de Berthen.

The seven riders in the move included Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Momé van Nierkerk (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93) Valentin Tabellion (AG2R Citroën), Samuel Leroux (Van Rysel0Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa-Samsic) and Aaron Gate and Tom Sexton – both from Bolton Equities Black Spoke.

After that hilly first section of the race, the peloton entered the first of eight laps around the finishing 8.9km circuit in Dunkerque. The final escapees were reeled in with 35km to go, leading to a battle of the sprinters' team.

The expected bunch sprint took place at the end of the 182.6-kilometre stage. Teams Uno-X for Blikra and Soudal Quick-Step for Merlier fought for control of the peloton. In the end, Merlier was able to claim victory by a slim tyre width.

Grégoire finished on top with a 13-second gap on Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep). Bol moved up to third overall with the bonus seconds at the finish.


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Lyne Lamoureux

Lyne has been involved in professional cycling for more than 15 years in both news reporting and sports marketing. She founded Podium Insight in 2008, quickly becoming a trusted source for news of the North American professional cycling world. She was the first to successfully use social media to consistently provide timely and live race updates for all fans. She is proud to have covered men's and women's news equally during her tenure at the helm of the site. Her writing has appeared on Cyclingnews and other news sites. 

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