Tim Merlier from Team Alpecin-Fenix just won the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, which is also his first win of the season. The Belgian cyclist out-sprinted both Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) and Olav Kooji (Jumbo-Visma) in the 219-kilometer stage.
The way Merlier executed his charge to the front was just exquisite, nothing like we have seen before. It was a good effort from Peter Sagan too, who finished first, but he could not get past a barricade of Quick-Step AlphaVinyl riders in time. Olav Kooji on the other hand absolutely had no tactic to outsmart Tim Merlier, but he showed great effort though.
— Alpecin-Fenix Cycling Team (@AlpecinFenix) March 7, 2022
After finishing first, Tim Merlier had this to say:
It feels really good. The shape is already good for a long time, but the results didn’t work out so I’m happy I can take the first victory here in Italy.
It was really hectic again. The first goal of the day was to survive the mountains. In the end, it was just the guys of the team bringing me in a good position and it was all for myself – I needed to sprint to the finish.
We already have the first victory – that was the goal of the week – and now we’ll go for more.
How everything unfolded, it was always going to end with a sprint, the UAE Team Emirates threw in everything they got but Marc Soler gave them a solid run and was able to throw them off for a while.
Alpecin-Fenix showed true strength and discipline as they were one of the few teams on the final run. TotalEnergies, Israel-Premier Tech, and Groupama-FDJ gave it their best. The main aspect that changed the course of the final stretch was the timing of the launch, Peter Sagan and Kooji tried to slip past Merlier but they failed inevitably.
This certainly seems like a great start to a promising season for both Tim Merlier and team Alpecin-Fenix. Merlier has a lot of other events and races under his schedule, let’s see how they pan out. Stay tuned for more updates!
Featured Image Via YouTube/Giro d’Italia