Home / World News / Van der Poel wins epic Tour of Flanders

Van der Poel wins epic Tour of Flanders

Mathieu van der Poel has kept his cool in a thrilling sprint finale following a compelling duel with Tadej Pogacar to claim his second Tour of Flanders title.

The brilliant Dutch rider, who had followed double Tour de France champion Pogacar’s accelerations, produced a late burst with 250 metres to go to win Sunday’s marvellous edition of the ‘Monument’ classic.

Slovenian Pogacar ended up blowing his chance with crucial hesitation in the denouement in Oudenaarde, and was left frustrated with fourth place.

Another Dutch rider, Dylan van Baarle, took advantage to take second place ahead of France’s Valentin Madouas.

Pogacar, who was chasing his third Monument but competing in the Flanders classic for the first time, was visibly angry after crossing the finishing line but could only blame himself for making the wrong decisions when it mattered.

He paid the price for not launching the sprint while in an ideal position, wasting all the hard work he had put in earlier in the 272.5-km race.

A brutal acceleration by the 23-year-old Pogacar during the mid-race climb up the Oude Kwaremont, 60 kilometres from the finish, blew the favourites’ group apart .

On the next hill, the famed Koppenberg, Pogacar attacked again and only van der Poel and Madouas managed to follow.

The trio caught the last two breakaway riders, van Baarle and Britain’s Fred Wright, with 38km left.

In the third and last climb up to the Oude Kwaremont, van der Poel was the only one able to follow Pogacar.

The Slovenian left his rival gasping in the last ascent of the day, up to the Paterberg, but the Dutchman held on grimly to stay in his wheel.

The duo had 30 seconds on van Baarle and Madouas but the cat-and-mouse game between Pogacar and Van der Poel with the line in sight started and the two chasers caught up with them.

Van der Poel waited until that moment to start his sprint and Pogacar found himself boxed in, missing out on what would have been a deserved podium finish.

It was another tremendous triumph for the versatile van der Poel, the 2020 Flanders champion who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for six days last year. He’s the grandson of the late, great French rider Raymond Poulidor.

Michael Matthews ended in the familiar position of being the leading Australian, finishing 11th, some 48 seconds behind van der Poel.

His BikeExchange-Jayco teammate Luke Durbridge was the next home in a distant 83rd among the 103 finishers, over 10 minutes adrift.

Sixty-two other riders didn’t make it to the finish of the gruelling six-and-a-half hour classic, including the other three Australians Heinrich Haussler, Alex Edmondson and Kelland O’Brien.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Australia’s venture capital deals slide 30 per cent from record year

Venture-capital investments in Australia plunged by a third in 2022, following the lead of listed …

%d bloggers like this: