After Sanremo, Philipsen also won Bruges-La Panne in a tense sprint against Merlier: “Only one could pass through this hole…”

Crossing the line in second place, Tim Merlier had a killer look at the winner… Jasper Philipsen. Before making him hear his way of thinking, with a gesture, in full view of everyone, telling him that he was crazy. “Maybe I'm too brave, but I don't want to cause anyone's deathhe then reacted, still hot. Behind van Poppel, my wheel was already placed on the left, I had to go that way. When I made my effort, I felt a contact, without knowing that it was Jasper. If I insist, he is in the barriers and I am declared guilty… I am frustrated not to have been able to sprint…”

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“It was a typical incident in a sprint. You have to make split-second choices when everything is going very fast. Fortunately, no one fell.”

The jury of commissioners saw no fault and did not exclude anyone at the end of this tumultuous sprint. Jasper Philipsen admits that it was very hot. “What happened is typical of a sprint incidenthe declared at a press conference. You have to make choices at the second, everything happens very quickly. No one wants to put anyone else in danger, but everyone wants to do their best sprint and take the shortest route to the line. When I wanted to go back up on the left, the space was reduced. Tim and I both wanted to take this little hole… But there was only room for one guy. I’m especially happy that no one fell.”

Asked about his rivalry with Tim Merlier, Jasper Philipsen quickly kicked in. “I'm not just racing against him. There are so many other good sprinters. But Tim is one of the fastest in the final straight: so we often find ourselves in front of both of us.”

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“All the races that come up are goals. Except maybe the Ronde, where I will help van der Poel.”

The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider continues to ride his wave of success, barely four days after his victory at Milan-Sanremo. “In Italy, I had perhaps the best legs of my entire career. And I continue to enjoy my good condition. I hope that this will still be the case in the magnificent events that we have in our sights. Like Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday, Across Flanders on Wednesday, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. All races that suit me and which are goals. Except perhaps the Ronde, where I will ride mainly to help Mathieu van der Poel as much as possible.”

With the world champion, he will share leadership at all other meetings. “As always, we must combine our forces. He can attack and then play tactically by saying that I am behind, with a chance of winning.”

Jasper Philipsen therefore won again in De Panne, like last year. But in a completely different context. “Last year it was war, with bad weather, this time it was a fairly easy race, he adds. “But I feel stronger than last year. I really felt it on the climbs in Italy. I am very satisfied with my level. I'm not going to say I panicked, but I didn't have very good feelings on the opening weekend or in Tirreno-Adriatico. Everything was better after that.”

If the sun and mild temperatures made the public happy on the coast this Wednesday, Jasper Philipsen is delighted with the change in weather forecast for this weekend. “I prefer when there is more wind, unlike this Wednesday, it makes the race more fun to compete in”, he announces. See you on Sunday!

At the end of the contract, Philipsen is very popular

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