Belgian champion Merlier the fastest at the Atomium

A sunny start in the Cinquantenaire Park was followed by a wet final with the inevitable bunch sprint on the Place de la Belgique. Belgian champion Merlier was clearly the strongest. He won before Ballerini and Bouhanni.

As in previous years, the Brussels Cycling Classic started in the beautiful setting of the Cinquantenaire Park. In the sun and under a blue sky, 5 riders were able to make the early escape only 4 km of racing: J. Duval (AG2R La Mondiale), J. Sütterlin (Team Sunweb), L. Vliegen (Circus – Wanty Gobert), C. Beullens (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and J.W. Van Schip (BEAT Cycling Club). The peloton let go quite quickly, one rider on the other hand fought alone in the counter-attack and was able to join the front in the end: J. Van Den Brande (Tarteletto – Isorex). A leading group of 6 riders thus coloured the first race hours.

The peloton remained calm for a long time. The leading group had a maximum lead of about 5 minutes. The situation remained completely stuck and the gap narrowed slightly. The slopes in Beersel territory brought action, because both on the Alsemberg and the Menisberg riders tried to escape from the peloton. The counter-attacks never went far and the peloton caught up with the leading group about 20km from the finish.

On the last hill of the day, the Keperenberg, an ultimate attacking attempt followed: J. Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), A. De Gendt (Circus – Wanty Gobert) and I. Van Wilder (Team Sunweb) managed to get a small lead, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step didn’t allow it. At 8 km from the finish, the story of the last attackers was over and the peloton was getting ready for the bunch sprint.

In the pouring rain, Belgian champion Tim Merlier (Alpecin – Fenix) sprinted to first place. Merlier was faster than Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic).