WorldTeam Arnaud De Lie celebrates 20th birthday with third spot in Nokere Koerse
After a group sprint on Nokereberg Arnaud De Lie finished third in Nokere Koerse. Only Tim Merlier and Max Walscheid were faster than the Ardennese on his 20th birthday, after Lotto Soudal had put him into place for the sprint.
“I felt really good today”, said the sprinter immediately after the race. “Yes, it was my birthday. But any race is an opportunity for a good result. I am very happy with this third spot in a Flemish Classic.”
De Lie was Lotto Soudal’s leader in case of a sprint finish on Nokereberg. It finally came to a sprint after a finale with lots of attacks that never got much room. Cedric Beullens, Victor Campenaerts and Florian Vermeersch were omnipresent during that phase of the race. Thomas De Gendt, Sébastien Grignard and Michael Schwarzmann had done their work before. “I have to thank them all”, realized De Lie. “Thanks to them I was able to get this third place.”
Vermeersch lead the peloton during the last kilometre, while De Lie found the wheel of Merlier. Merlier launched his sprint far from the finish line, while De Lie got boxed in. Once he got space again, it was impossible to get back to Merlier and Walscheid. “They were just stronger today, I have nothing to be sorry about. A podium spot in a Flemish Classic as Nokere Koerse is just wonderful for me.”