Tour de Wallonie Stage 4: Meersman Runner-Up Again, Further Extends Overall Lead
OPQS rider Gianni Meersman was about half a wheel short of a victory on Tuesday, earning his 4th 2nd place finish in four Tour de Wallonie Stages in the bunch sprint finale of 174.9km Stage 4.
Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) won the stage with a bike throw, catching Meersman in the final 50 meters of the sprint that was led into on a wide road, with the peloton spread across the road battling for position. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha) was 3rd.
OPQS worked all day at the front keeping the original breakaway controlled. The race came back together with 24km to go, but the peloton was far from finished with its threats to the yellow jersey of Meersman. A three rider escape group was brought back with about 18km to go in the stage, but the last rider from that group was caught with 11km to go. More attacks followed, including a solo effort of Gijs van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise), but OPQS put all riders on the front in support of Meersman and even he was reeled in as the peloton raced toward the final kilometer.
Zdenek Stybar helped lead out the sprint, and Meersman launched inside the top 5 positions of the field.
Meersman now leads the GC by 20" thanks to bonus seconds earned. OPQS looks to the final, 184km stage from Malmedy to Ans, on Wednesday.