Mathieu van der Poel won the Tour of Flanders on Sunday for his first Monument victory marked by world champion Julian Alaphilippe’s heavy fall after colliding with a motorbike. Van der Poel had slipped away from the peloton with his great rival Wout van Aert and Alaphilippe forming a three-man breakaway. After the French rider’s accident the duo were left to fight out the finish, with Dutch star van der Poel emerging the winner in Audenarde 34 years after his father Adrie’s name was added to the celebrated race’s roll of honor.
In the run up to the Antwerp start of the race moved from its traditional slot in the cycling calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic all the signs were that this duo held the key to the celebrated race. When Alaphilippe broke away from the pack 40km from the finish only van der Poel went with him, van Aert missed the move and as a result had to use up vital energy catching the two leaders on the cobblestones of Taaianberg.
That effort coming after a fall 100km out took its toll in the thrilling wheel to wheel sprint for the line.
|1||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||5:43:17|
|2||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||,,|
|3||KRISTOFF Alexander||UAE-Team Emirates||0:08|
|4||TURGIS Anthony||Team Total Direct Energie||,,|
|5||LAMPAERT Yves||Deceuninck – Quick Step||,,|
|6||CLAEYS Dimitri||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||,,|
|7||NAESEN Oliver||AG2R La Mondiale||,,|
|8||VAN BAARLE Dylan||INEOS Grenadiers||,,|
|9||DEGENKOLB John||Lotto Soudal||,,|
|10||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||,,|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini