Merlier Sprints to Victory in Blaavands Gravel Challenge, Norsgaard Bjerg finishes solo

(c) Jeppokirk

The second edition of the Gravel Challenge Blaavands Huk in Denmark culminated in a thrilling sprint finish, with four riders battling for victory after 155km of intense racing over four laps of 38.5km each.

Tim Merlier, the Vice European gravel champion from Belgium, showcased his impressive form, having recently won three stages in the Giro d’Italia. Merlier clinched victory for the Soudal Quick-Step team, thanks to the strategic support of teammate Bert Van Lerberghe, who controlled attacks and launched the final sprint, securing third place. Danish rider Jonas Lindberg finished second, while Belgium’s Julian Siemons took fourth. Frederik Rassmann, the Giro Sardegna Gravel winner, rounded out the top five.

In the women’s race, Emma Cecilie Norsgaard Bjerg of Movistar dominated the competition. She broke away from her main rival, last year’s winner Tessa Neefjes of the Netherlands, in the early kilometers. Norsgaard Bjerg crossed the finish line on home ground with a commanding 4-minute-50-second lead. Danish rider Klara Sofie Skovgard Hansen secured third place, finishing 8 minutes and 46 seconds behind. Sweden’s Hanna Nilsson and Denmark’s Mie Nordlund Pedersen completed the top five.

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