The last day in the Netherlands with a visit to Belgium. Unsurprisingly, a very flat stage.
I’m very happy to see what should be another safe finish. The last corner is with 800 meters left. There, they head on to a double-lane road before it opens up to a four-lane road with 250 meters left. I’m unsure if they will have the barriers made so there is more room to sprint, but I will assume so.
It could be another day where the wind could play a role and it looks like we will have winds around 5 m/s in some spots. When the terrain is nothing but flat fields, it will feel a lot worse. The last half of the stage is either in a crosswind or with a tailwind, but that is usually not strong enough.
The wind will be blowing from the west – meaning a headwind sprint.
Bennett – the sprint train proved its worth. Well done by Danny van Poppel and Mullen. They looked a bit boxed in but ended up timing it perfectly. After the win, his morale will have skyrocketed, something that means the world to a sprinter. I expect him to fight for the win again today
Merlier – a little boxing match with McLay in the last corner had him out of position, which cost him the win. He was more on his own than I expected, something we will likely see changed this evening. He still looks to be the fastest.
Pedersen – the team did a good job bringing him near the front, but he does not match the top speed of the best in flat boulevard sprint.
Ackermann – he just did not have the kick. He was perfectly positioned but the speed was nowhere near overtaking Mads Pedersen. My confidence for him is not high after seeing his sprint yesterday.
Groves – out of position and quite early. The team is strong – they should move to the front a little quicker than they tried yesterday. He is certainly quick, but they need to invest more resources in their young sprinter.
Teunissen – he had plenty of speed in the sprint yesterday, and since he will be starting his sprint quite far down, he could come flying past riders on their limit very late in the sprint.
⭐⭐ Bennett, Groves
⭐ Ackermann, Pedersen, Teunissen
Who will win?
I will take a win for Tim Merlier. A headwind sprint always favors those thriving in a chaotic sprint, and Merlier is one of the best at that.