Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has won the Tour of Flanders for the second time. Tadej Pogacar impressed on all slopes on his debut, but in a chaotic denouement Van der Poel kept his cool. A disappointed Pogacar didn’t even finish on the podium. Dylan Teuns was the best Belgian in 6th place.
The 106th edition of the Tour of Flanders in a nutshell:
- key moment: Mathieu van der Poel goes all the way on the last Paterberg and doesn’t squeak. In the sprint he has nerves of steel. He maintains his coolness and is not fooled by the plot twist.
- Winner of the day: Mathieu van der Poel only started his road campaign two weeks ago. After a 3rd place on the Via Roma and a win in Dwars door Vlaanderen, there is already a high point for the Dutch champ.
- Loser of the Day (1): Rarely has a debutant made more of an impression in the Tour of Flanders, but Tadej Pogacar is left empty-handed. He killed himself in the last kilometer jousting match.
- Loser of the Day (2): Jumbo-Visma was beheaded without Wout van Aert and could never confirm the dominance of the past few weeks in this Round. Tiesj Benoot lagged too much behind the facts, Christophe Laporte finished 9th after a dive in the canal.
Pogacar destroys the stones on the Oude Kwaremont
Whether in addition to a round winner, there is also a round winner in Tadej Pogacar? That question received an obvious answer on the second passage of the Oude Kwaremont.
Whirlwind Pogacar – who had fallen at the beginning of this marathon, of course – shook out a big bang and relegated an interesting group with Kasper Asgreen that had used the magic word “anticipation” after the Berendries.
Everyone gasped, including Matej Mohoric, Jasper Stuyven and Greg Van Avermaet already knew what time it was.
Only Van der Poel can still go to Oudenaarde
The Paterberg made the elimination race even bigger, but the Koppenberg was only really used as a sieve.
Asgreen had blown himself up and stood still with material problems, Pogacar danced with Mathieu van der Poel and joker Valentin Madouas to Dylan van Baarle and Fred Wright, who had sneaked away towards the hump of Melden.
The five of them were left 40 kilometers from the finish: the rest had been weighed up and found to be too light.
Even before flyers Van Baarle, Wright and Madouas had gone to the drawing board, Pogacar shook them off his shoulder like dust.
Only Van der Poel was able to jump on the Slovenian luggage carrier.
A sprint that will reverberate for a long time at Pogacar
On the Paterberg, the Dutchman had to make some corrections after mowing the verge, but he did an excellent job. Good for a mental win?
The duet reached a climax in the Minderbroedersstraat, but the poker game turned it into a confused denouement.
Pogacar was playing left ball in Van der Poel’s wheel, who started 200 meters from the finish when Van Baarle and Madouas actually showed up.
A gambling Pogacar had gotten himself into trouble and was in a pinch. The Sunday child shouted out his frustration, a cold-blooded Van der Poel his disbelief: 2 weeks after his return, he wins his 2nd Tour of Flanders.
And the rest?
Dylan van Baarle eventually finished second ahead of revelation Valentin Madouas. Tadej Pogacar swore and drove straight to the team bus with a 4th place in his backpack.
And the Belgians? Without Wout van Aert, our compatriots would only have a supporting role. Dylan Teuns saved the honor a bit with 6th place.
Van Baarle: “It all suddenly went so fast”
- Dylan van Baarle (2nd): “It was a bit surprising that we could still sprint for the win, although you know that they will look at each other. It suddenly all went so fast. I just wanted to sprint as fast as possible and then see where I ended up.”
- Valentin Madouas (3rd): “We have always believed in victory in the pursuit, but in the sprint my legs exploded. I still had a lot of speed, but also got cramps. Still, I am satisfied, because it is my first podium in a monument.”