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Tim Merlier played off fine work from his Alpecin-Fenix team to win the Bredene Koksijde Classic ahead of former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quickstep).
A 13-rider breakaway and an 18-man chasing group came together in pursuit of lone leader Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), who had attacked the leading group and looked set to solo to victory. Merlier's teammate Jonas Rickaert helped reel the Austrian in with just 1.4km to go and then led the group into the final few hundred metres.
Merlier timed his sprint perfectly jumping off the wheel of Deceuninck-Quickstep's lead-out man Josef Cerny to top Pedersen and Florian Sénéchal by a clean pair of wheels.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix||4:13:43|
|2||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo|
|3||Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|4||Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation|
|5||Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko|
|6||Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB|
|7||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos|
|8||Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|9||Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|10||Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM|
Formerly known as the Handzame Classic, before 2019, the 2021 Bredene Koksijde Classic will be the second edition with the new finish along the coast in Koksijde after the 2020 race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The terrain is a familiar one for the Belgian races, with flat, narrow, traffic-furniture-strewn streets windswept by the cold breeze coming off the North Sea.
Koksijde is famous for hosting one of the most difficult cyclo-cross races on the circuit but the Bredene Koksijde Classic is typically contested by the sprinters.
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the race when it was last held in 2019, and before him other fast men made their mark on the race including Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X), the latter a three-time podium finisher.
The race is part of the UCI ProSeries, and has attracted a dozen WorldTeams. Bora-Hansgrohe bring Nils Politt as their leader, while Mark Cavendish heads up Deceuninck-QuickStep's squad.
While most of the top sprinters will be in Italy for Milan-San Remo the next day, other notable riders include Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-Assos), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ), Jan-Willem van Schip (Beat Cycling) and Timothy Dupont (Bingoal-WB).
The 199km race starts at 12:40 CET with a finish at approximately 17:15.
Cyclingnews will be bringing you full reports, results, news, interviews, and analysis throughout the race. Read on to find out how to watch the Bredene Koksijde Classic via live stream, no matter your location, with ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).
Bredene Koksijde Classic 202119 March 2021 | Koksijde | 1.Pro
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