Driver says cyclists should pay ‘road tax’ – then admits to owning an electric car; A Belgian sprinter jumps the barrier to narrowly avoid oncoming runners; Bikes on Film; Local paper trolls Tour of Britain; Cities are the result of choices + more on the live blog
Yesterday’s men’s Scheldt race was a bit strange to say the least.
Usually a race for sprinters – Mark Cavendish is a three-time winner while Marcel Kittel won it five times during the 2010s – the peloton crumbled in the crosswinds during the opening hour.
The rest of the day was the sort of chase you would normally see in the Tuesday night club league, with 14 riders up front being chased by a group of 16 men, including pre-race favorite Fabio Jakobsen . The gap hovered around a minute for 150km, before the rubber band finally broke on the finish circuits around Schoten.
– Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (@IntermarcheWG) April 6, 2022
Alexander Kristoff then took full advantage of the lack of cohesion in the leading group to slip away onto the cobbles seven kilometers from the finish to claim an impressive solo victory, continuing his team Intermarché’s stellar classics campaign and cementing his own serious competitor status for Paris-Roubaix in ten days.
The victory was also something of a collector’s item for the Norwegian great – despite 83 professional victories during his glittering career, including the Tour of Flanders and Milan-San Remo, Scheldeprijs marked the first time he won a race by crossing the line alone.
Despite 83 professional victories to his name, @ Kristoff87 has never won a solo race…
— GCN Racing (@GcnRacing) April 6, 2022
My first solo victory in 13 years 🙌🏻
What a race!
crosswind, rain and lots of racing all day 🚴🏻💨
So happy to bring home the win for @intermarchewg
📸 @photonewsbelgium https://t.co/3l3DmL4Al7
— Alexander Kristoff (@Kristoff87) April 6, 2022
If all that wasn’t weird enough, Tim Merlier – who had just finished ninth after Alpecin-Fenix failed to capitalize on the presence of two of the world’s best sprinters in the winning stroke – decided to protect themselves from the rain as quickly as possible by driving down the course towards their team’s bus.
Now, we often see riders crossing the finish line on big lap mountain stages, as stragglers pass them in the opposite direction. However, we don’t see it often during a flat classic, as a dozen of the fastest finishers in the peloton race to the line, spread across the road.
Tim Merlier training for the cross season
— Social Cyclocross (@Cyclocrosss) April 6, 2022
Merlier, who later said he wasn’t aware anyone was still in the race (to be fair to him, only 30 runners finished, so he wasn’t wrong), said had to quickly take evasive action as Jakobsen, De Lie and the others headed towards him in the sprint for fourteenth place.
Luckily, he was able to throw his bike and then himself over the barriers just in time to avoid a potentially disastrous crash – spawning a few internet memes in the process:
Tim Merlier: “Yes, that’s me. You are probably wondering how I got into this situation. pic.twitter.com/pWXJPHBovW
— Spencer ↙️↙️↙️ (@spencerhaugh) April 6, 2022
— Rear of the peloton – Tom (@reardupeloton) April 7, 2022
Yeah, I’ve never had a problem getting back down the road and still having runners coming in.
— Daniel Lloyd (@danielloyd1) April 6, 2022
To give Tim his due, those hurdles are pretty big these days, no doubt forcing him to use all of his cyclocross skills to overcome them.
The Belgian sprinter was fined 200 Swiss francs by the UCI and later apologized for the post-race drama, saying “it was in no way my intention to put anyone in danger”.
I would like to comment on what happened today after the race in Schoten. When I crossed the finish line to return to the team parking lot, I honestly thought that all the runners had arrived, because I was not stopped and there was only one group behind us in the race.
—Tim Merlier (@MerlierTim) April 6, 2022
I had no intention of endangering anyone, and I would like to apologize if I did.
—Tim Merlier (@MerlierTim) April 6, 2022
The weird and wonderful world of cycling, huh?