With no Mathieu van der Poel leading Alpecin-Fenix at Gent-Wevelgem, the Belgian squad looked to sprinters Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen for leadership during Sunday’s race.

The strategy didn’t work out as hoped, with Merlier finishing sixth in the bunch sprint behind the four escapees, while Philipsen took 21st place in the same group. On the final run-in, the team had played its part in chasing the attackers and eventual race winner Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), along with Groupama-FDJ and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl. However the chasers lacked the speed and unity to catch the winning attack.


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