June 2, 2023

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ChildBriggs: Jasper Philipsen or Tim Merler? Christoph Rodhoft explains…


Defending champion Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier reunite for the start of the Scheldeprijs Championship. But which of Alpecin-Fenix’s fast caps will be favorite when it turns out to be a fast sprint at Schoten? We heard from Christoph Rudhoft, team manager and also sporting director at Scheldeprijs.

A week and a half ago, in Gent-Wevelgem, Philipsen and Merlier each were allowed to ride a sprint. Things did not turn out as hoped in the end. Merler may have won the sprint, but only finished sixth. After all, the set with the subsequent winner Benyam Jermay was not shot. Shouldn’t they choose in Alpecin-Fenix ​​and sacrifice one of the two leaders to bridge the gap at Girmay and co. To try to compose?

“Ah, this is a fig after Easter,” says Roodhooft. “You make a plan in advance, but in the race sometimes things go quickly. It is not always easy to know who is who, where, what is going on and how to properly assess a situation. When you look back, it is easy to judge or comment.”

Philipsen in Scheldeprijs
Tomorrow Merlier and Philipsen will be together again on the competition sheet. Is it advisable for both riders to participate in the same races? “We want to avoid that more and more in the future,” Roodhooft says. “But every now and then it has to be possible. I even think it could be integrated. Tim and Jasper are also capable of more than just running.”

In the third round phase of 2021, the Merlier-Philipsen plan is working perfectly – Photo: Cor Vos

“Who said Scheldeprijs end up racing a handful? In recent years there have been more and more races. That could also be the case tomorrow. And if they both survive the final and there is a sprint, we draw the Philipsen card. Because the team sprints in Scheldeprijs are usually more difficult than the average sprinter. Jasper is a little better in those conditions in my opinion.”

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And when the time comes, Roodhooft is convinced Tim Merlier will race a sprint with teammate Kempen in Schoten. “Sure. Tim is professional enough. Sometimes it’s a give and take. Tim really took his chances, like in Brugge-De Panne, and he took advantage of them too.”