Tim Merlier puts in perfect sprint to take stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico 2020

The Belgian national champion has never won at WorldTour level before

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tim Merlier won stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico 2020 ahead of Pascal Ackermann and Magnus Cort in a very chaotic sprint finish.

Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) timed his sprint to absolute perfection as he kicked around Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) to take the stage by half a bike ahead of the fast finishing Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) who came from a long way back.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) remains in the blue leaders jersey with no change in the general classification.

How it happened

The riders started in the town of Castelfidardo before heading 171km along the coast for the first half of the stage before heading inland to then arc back down to the coast and the finishing town of Senigallia, where the peloton took in four or so laps of the pan flat circuit.

A five-man break went up the road and pulled out a maximum gap of three minutes that held for the majority of the stage.

The break was made up of Axel Domont (Ag2r La Mondiale), Carl Frederik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal), Veljko Stojnić (Vini Zabù-KTM), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Croatian champion, Josip Rumac (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).

The break crossed the finish line for the first time of four with a gap of two minutes and 45 seconds with 64km to go.

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Behind, the pace was slowly being lifted by Bora-Hansgrohe, UAE Team Emirates, Deceuninck - Quick-Step, Alpecin-Fenix, Team Sunweb and Israel Start-Up Nation.

As the break crossed the line for the penultimate time with 16km to go and a gap of 20 seconds back to the now charging peloton.

The break then split in two with the two WorldTour riders going clear in Hagen and Domont with Stojnić and Rumac dropping back into the peloton.

Hagen was the last man to be caught with 13km to go by Total Direct Energie who had control of the peloton in the back straight.

As they turned onto the finishing straight it was Ineos Grenadiers and Israel Start-Up Nation that took control with 8km to go.

The finale was incredibly hectic with riders competing to be in the dangerous inside of the road to avoid the wind and Alpecin-Fenix timed the move to the front perfectly.

Merlier managed to jump on the wheel of Gaviria just as the Colombian kicked for his sprint, Merlier went straight by him and held a very powerful sprint to the line.


Tirreno-Adriatico 2020, stage six: Castelfidardo to Senigallia (171km)

1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, in 3-59-30

2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe

3. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Pro Cycling

4. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates

5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma

6. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step

7. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie

8. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis

9. Iván García (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren

10. Alex Aranburu (Esp) Astana, all at saem time.

General classification after stage six

1. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 23-36-59

2. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 16s

3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 39s

4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana, 49s

5. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 54s

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 1-00

7. James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 1-21

8. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling, at 1-22

9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 2-28

10. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 2-44

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.