Van Moer takes a wrong turn and Merlier wins Ronde van Limburg

Ronde Van Limburg 2021 Hasselt Tongeren 1998 km 24052021 Tim Merlier BEL AlpecinFenix Daniel Mclay GBR Team Arkea Samsic photo Dion KerckhoffsCVBettiniPhoto2021
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) beat John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) to win the Ronde Van Limburg (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) nabbed the victory in the Ronde van Limburg, taking out the surprise bunch sprint ahead of Dan McLay (Arkea-Samsic) and John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal).

The sprint followed the shocking disappearance of solo attacker Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) who had a lead of almost 10 seconds at the 1km to go banner and then was gone.

After the finish, cameras revived footage of Van Moer taking the wrong right-hand turn, one that came around 100m before the final bend in Tongeren.

"At 500 meters from the finish, some riders had gone off course," Merlier said after his win. "I almost took the wrong turn there, too.

"In the meantime I had completely lost sight of whether Van Moer was already caught or not. I raised my hands, but then I thought: 'Am I winning? I won't be second, will I?'"

Van Moer was part of the day's breakaway that went clear after 60km of racing, the only WorldTour rider in a move that included Cedric Beullens (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Sven Burger (BEAT Cycling) and, later, Frederik Backaert (B&B Hotels), Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Jules Hesters (Beat Cycling) after Burger had been dropped.

Van Moer went away solo with 16km to go and, with 3km to go he still had 25 seconds with Uno-X and Arkéa-Samsic leading the chase, but it all went wrong for the young time trial talent inside the final kilometre when he mistook the instructions of the signalman and took the wrong right turn. Banging his bars in frustration, the 23-year-old - second in a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico this year - didn't bother to cross the finish line.

Lotto Soudal directeur sportif Kurt Van de Wouwer told Sporza the signalmen clearly directed Van Moer down the diversion meant for the team cars. "We have already reviewed the images several times and it is clear that Van Moer was sent in the wrong direction by two signalmen standing along the side of the road," Van de Wouwer said. 

"Those two signalers urged Van Moer to take the road that was there to divert the support cars.

"This is such a shame. Brent is in sack and ashes. He's deeply disappointed. He made the race all the way. He was the strongest of the day.

"Brent was in the early breakaway. New guys came to him, but Brent Van Moer rode them all off and so he could start the final alone. Everything went perfectly up to 500 meters from the finish."    

Although the team still had Degenkolb on the podium in third, Van de Wouwer said "This is a small plaster on a large wound. My riders collectively rode a very good and strong race. It would have been close, but the possibility that Van Moer would win was there.

"Brent will be heading to the Dauphiné soon. There will be some mental tinkering to follow. This will have to settle for a few days."  

Merlier, the winner of a stage in the Giro d'Italia, dropped out of the Grand Tour citing stomach problems and fatigue, but was allowed to compete in the Ronde van Limburg with permission from RCS Sport and the UCI.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:41:35
2Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Qhubeka Assos
5Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
6Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
7Stan Van Tricht (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
8Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
10Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod
11Casper van Uden (Ned) Team DSM
12Arne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
13Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
14Tom Paquot (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
15Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
16Andreas Stokbro (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
17Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
18James Fouche (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
19Jarrad Drizners (Aus) Hagens Berman Axeon
20Toon Aerts (Bel)
21Elmar Reinders (Ned) Riwal Cycling Team
22Andreas Goeman (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
23Leon Heinschke (Ger) Team DSM
24Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
25Martijn Budding (Ned) Beat Cycling
26Piotr Havik (Ned) Beat Cycling
27Hartthijs de Vries (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
28Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
29Luke Mudgway (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
30Matthew Bostock (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
31Martin Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
32Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:14
33Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:17
34Carlos Barbero (Spa) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:00:20
35Maikel Zijlaard (Ned) SEG Racing Academy 0:00:25
36Jonas Abrahamsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32
37Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:40
38Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
39Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:44
40Markus Pajur (Est) Team Arkea-Samsic
41Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:04
42Iver Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:01:10
43Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
44Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
45Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
46Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
47Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
48Rick Ottema (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
49David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
50Wessel Krul (Ned) SEG Racing Academy 0:01:30
51Jesper Rasch (Ned) SEG Racing Academy 0:01:31
52Lars Van Der Haar (Ned)
53Thomas Mijnsbergen (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
54Stefano Museeuw (Bel) Beat Cycling
55Lars Hohmann (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel 0:01:34
56Reece Wood (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod 0:01:37
57Jacob Scott (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
58Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita) Team DSM
59Daan Hoole (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
60Frederik Backaert (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
61Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Cycling Team
62Tom Sexton (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
63Viktor Verschaeve (Bel) Lotto Soudal
64Thibau Nys (Bel) 0:01:41
65Thijs Aerts (Bel)
66Robert Scott (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod 0:01:55
67Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) Team DSM
68Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:03:33
69Cedric Beullens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:04:06
70Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
71Tim Naberman (Ned) Team DSM
72Marten Kooistra (Ned) Beat Cycling
73Tobias Kongstad (Den) Riwal Cycling Team
74Gil D´Heygere (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
75Jens van den Dool (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
76Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:07:17
77Donavan Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
78Jesper Schultz (Den) Riwal Cycling Team
79Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
80Christophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
81Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
82Sven Burger (Ned) Beat Cycling
83Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:07:26
84Ryan Christensen (NZl) Canyon DHB Sungod 0:09:40
DNFJordy Bouts (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNFPedro Andrade (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFPepijn Reinderink (Ned) Team DSM
DNFLucas Bourgoyne (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFJonas Castrique (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
DNFDiogo Barbosa (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFJules Hesters (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNFAlex Colman (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFWesley Vercamst (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFJames Oram (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
DNFSamuel Janisch (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFJim Brown (GBr) Canyon DHB Sungod
DNFAlexander White (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
DNFErlend Blikra (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFKiaan Watts (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
DNFEthan Batt (NZl) Black Spoke Pro Cycling
DNFKristian Kulset (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFEnzo Leijnse (Ned) Team DSM
DNFLudwig De Winter (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFDietmar Ledegen (Bel)
DNFWard Huybs (Bel)
DNFChris Ernst (Can) Xspeed United Continental
DNFDoron Wiggins (Bel) Xspeed United Continental
DNFJoshua Teasdale (GBr) Xspeed United Continental
DNFTom Thill (Lux) Xspeed United Continental
DNFSimon Daniels (Bel) Xspeed United Continental
DNFEvan Burtnik (Can) Xspeed United Continental
DNFEnzo Wouters (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFBrent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFAlfdan De Decker (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFBrent Van De Kerkhove (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFPhilipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFAdrie Lindeman (Ned) Riwal Cycling Team
DNFVictor Broex (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
DNFYentl Bekaert (Bel)
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix Development Team
DNFLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFRamon van Bokhoven (Ned) Metec-Solarwatt p/b Mantel
DNFYlber Sefa (Alb) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFKim Magnusson (Swe) Riwal Cycling Team
DNFXandres Vervloesem (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMorten Nørtoft (Den) Riwal Cycling Team
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFSean Flynn (GBr) SEG Racing Academy
DNFDanny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFMilan Paulus (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
DNFSimon Jones (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFEmil Vinjebo (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos

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