February 26, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Tim Merlier is silent, but he can hold off the oncoming Brian Coquard

Tim Merlier is silent, but he can hold off the oncoming Brian Coquard

Tim Merlier won the second stage of the AlUla Tour. Yesterday's stage winner launched his sprint from afar, but appeared to have hit the ceiling. Brian Coquard made a final leap and raised his finger in the air, but the Frenchman was not the fastest man.

Dylan Groenewegen is out with illness and after collapsing 6.5km from the finish, Arvid de Klein and Sebastian Molano were also eliminated for the chance of a 4th runner in 4 days.

Tim Merlier navigated the skirmishes and sat at the wheel of the impressive DSM train after an exhausting day.

But before leader Casper van Ouden could open the goal, Merlier had already fired like a missile.

In his red dots jersey he opened up a gap, but Merlier was clearly desperate to finish after a sprint of almost 300 metres.

Brian Coquard did not give up, came alongside Merlier and appeared to overtake her by jumping at the right time.

The Frenchman thought so too, because he raised his finger and declared victory. Finishing the picture he whistled again.

Merlier heads into the final day as leader, but Saturday's finale is a game for the Climbers.

Tim Merlier said he saw no other option but to get in early. “You were already blown away. If you had stayed sitting, winning the stage would have been out of the question. If you didn't try, you would never win,” he laughed gently.

“I started running from a distance, because I know I have something like this in my legs. I can handle such effort.”

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“Brian (Cocard) said he won, but I'm still happy to be here as a winner again.”