Merlier sprints to victory on the opening stage of Paris-Nice

Belgian national champion tops Bennett and Pedersen in a bunch kick

Tim Merlier wins stage 1 of Paris-Nice
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) sprinted to victory on the opening stage of the 2023 edition of Paris-Nice on Sunday, taking his fourth win of the young season in La Verrière to the southwest of Paris.

The 30-year-old Belgian out-kicked Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) at the end of a stage that did see at least a glimmer of GC action, as the likes of Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) and Tadej Pogačar himself (UAE-Team Emirates) tried their luck with big surges on the rolling climbs on the run-in to the finish.

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