Mathieu van der Poel highlights his Ronde form with a win in beautiful Dwars door Vlaanderen | Straight through Flanders 2022

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) immediately hit the bull’s eye in his first race on Flemish roads. The Dutch all-rounder defeated Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) in Dwars door Vlaanderen in the sprint after a blistering final.

The 76th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen in a nutshell:

  • Winner of the day: Anyone who would still doubt Mathieu van der Poel’s Ronde legs will sing a little lower after today. Van der Poel also raced very wisely in the final and is panting in the neck of that other top favourite, Wout van Aert.
  • Pats of the day: Even without the striker duo from his team, Tiesj Benoot was very strong, Victor Campenaerts has realized his stated ambition in no time and Tom Pidcock suddenly takes a big leap forward.
  • The day of the debutant: Tadej Pogacar showed several faces. First as a shadow of Van der Poel, then as a missing person, then again as a fighter and finally in 10th place at 2’08”. A victory on Sunday will not come to order.
  • loser of the day: Without Kasper Asgreen, Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl was driven home without a chance. There is no improvement, on the contrary.

Van der Poel opts for a long and grueling final

Calculated rates? Nothing if your name is Mathieu van der Poel.

At 90 kilometers from the finish he shook the tree for the first time, but not all apples were on the ground.

20 kilometers later on Berg Ten Houte, all the bells started to ring.

Tom Pidcock had his teammate Ben Turner moped, Van der Poel, Tiesj Benoot, Victor Campenaerts and Stefan Küng had done their homework.

Welles staple game with “human” Pogacar

Not Tadej Pogacar: after a few slopes as a shadow of Van der Poel, the Slovenian had missed the battle.

A carelessness? A lack of track knowledge? Or porridge in the legs? Pogacar did not flash, but started to whistle a tune on the Kanarieberg.

The elite group with Van der Poel could almost sing along, but Pogacar actually showed that he is a person of flesh and blood.

After an ordinary chasse patate, he found his second breath again in the company of Greg Van Avermaet, among others, but the lead of the race was no longer within reach.

Final phase to lick your thumbs and fingers

There, Van der Poel and tutti quanti picked up the remnants of the early break, good for a final with eight.

In a blistering castle, Campenaerts fired two razor-sharp arrows, the rest had to go all the way to stay alive.

Benoot was not yet squeezed and placed the key gear shortly before the rag, only Van der Poel still knew which parish he belonged to.

That of the winner, because in the sprint Benoot had no chance after a wonderful game of cat and mouse.

Reactions after Dwars door Vlaanderen:

  1. 5 p.m. 02. At 2’09”, Pogacar becomes 10th. .
  2. 5 p.m. The lungs are on fire: if you can go that deep, you’re really in shape. Jose DeCauwer.
  3. 17 hours 01. Van der Poel spit it out. He had to go all the way. What a thrilling finale! †
  4. 17 hours . Van der Poel wins! He had to go very deep, but he also used his common sense. Van der Poel wins Dwars door Vlaanderen for the second time. Benoot is 2nd, Pidcock 3rd. †
  5. 17 hours . Benoot straightens up. †
  6. 17 hours . Van der Poel starts in the lead with a very long sprint. †
  7. 17 hours . Benoot takes over. He doesn’t play poker, but in a sprint… Well, yes. Think of last year’s Tour. †
  8. Last km. The rest seems to fold. Van der Poel and Benoot storm past the banner of the last kilometer.  † 4 p.m. 59.
  9. 4 p.m. 59. Was this the right move at a mile from the finish? Van der Poel to the rag with Benoot? †
  10. 4 p.m. 58. Pidcock is the first back on the couch and immediately moves on.  And now Benoot goes. Van der Poel follows. †
  11. 4 p.m. 57. Everything is on a handkerchief. On the racetrack, everything clumps together again. Or almost… .
  12. 4 p.m. 57. Another 3 kilometers. Benoot does not hesitate and takes over from Campenaerts. Will the duo drive away?  †
  13. 4 pm 57. Campenaerts again, only Benoot reacts.

    Campenaerts again, only Benoot responds

  14. 4 p.m. 56. He still has an arrow in his back pocket. In a new descent Campenaerts starts again. Benoot responds immediately.  †
  15. 4 pm 56. Regrouping under the impulse of strong Benoot and Van der Poel.

    Regrouping under the impulse of strong Benoot and Van der Poel

  16. 4 p.m. 55. 8 leaders! We can start over. Another 4.5 kilometers and everyone is together again. What an exciting final! †
  17. 4 pm 55. Van der Poel folds in half and comes very close, but it is between hanging and strangling.  †
  18. 4 p.m. 54. 3 leaders. We go to a trio: Benoot and Pidcock join Campenaerts. Are people still coming back?  †
  19. 4 pm 54. Campenaerts takes the bends as if he knows every square kilometer. And so it is after all those explorations. † Renaat Schotte on the bike.