Mathieu van der Poel graced the rainbow with a stratospheric victory at the Tour of Flanders

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Like Louison Bobet in 1955, Rik van Looy in 1962 or Eddy Merckx in 1975. Like Tom Boonen in 2006 and Peter Sagan in 2016. They are the names of current world champions who were able to declare themselves victorious over Tour of Flanders in the year of bringing your rainbow.

But the list of those chosen in the race of races, in the second ‘monument’ of the era, he had to expand. Mathieu van der Poel once again won “his” classic. Dominating like no other, the perfectly measured since he rode the bike for the first time in 2019. It was on a day with a big Ivan García Cortinawho tried to attack to leave alone between the successive walls, but saw how he lacked strength in the final stretch (he was twenty-sixth). Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla) has closed the podium.

In 2019, Van der Poel finished fourth, his worst result in six career appearances. Second in 2021 and 2023, he won it in 2020 and 2022. This 2024 is, therefore, his third victory in the Tour of Flanders, making him equal to six men who have celebrated the triplet.: the Belgian Achiel Buysse (1940, 1941 and 1943), the Italian Fiorenzo Magni (1949, 1950 and 1951), the Belgians Eric Leman (1970, 1972 and 1973), Johan Museeuw (1993, 1995 ) and Tom Boonen (2005, 2006 and 2012) and the Swiss Fabian Cancellara (2010, 2013 and 2014). It is also his fifth ‘monument’, so he equals Tadej Pogacar as active cyclist with the most victories in the great classics of the cycling world.

At twenty-nine years old, if nothing happens in the many careers ahead of him, Van der Poel is already on the shortlist, the first cyclist in history to chain five consecutive podiums on Belgian soil. In the absence of 2023 champion Tadej Pogacar and the recently injured Wout van Aert, the Dutchman will have no problem dominating again with an iron hand in a race where he already lives in history.

Because if that’s not enough, The victory achieved this Sunday is also dressed as a rainbow, in an epic post-rainy postcard in Flanders increasing the hardiness of a unique breed that. A race where silence marks the first, flat part of 270.8 kilometers connecting Antwerp and Oudenaarde. It was in the second, in the last 135 kilometers, when the seventeen hills connected with the sections of cobblestones that always mark the race began.

Therefore, the initial attack of the platoon is not a concern. Van Lerberghe, Dekker, Aniolkowski, Touzé, Durbridge, Reinders, Taminiaux, Vermoote and Markl, which the platoon controlled without problems from the rear managed by Van der Poel. They managed to save four minutes in the first part of the race, which was flat, despite having to wait a few seconds for a train to pass.

But the peloton wants to control everything before the cobblestones. Ineos Grenadiers It was one of the teams that accelerated the peloton in minutes of doubt, pressing and falling in the peloton. Abandoned by Guillaume Bovin, but none of the others involved suffered major damage, despite the fact that Mohoric was one of those who suffered some terrors in the form of a fall, amidst the diabolical rhythm of the multi-colored snake, which reduced differences. with boys.headshot in less than two minutes.

An inevitable Van der Poel

The cobblestone sections came with a hundred kilometers to go. He came ‘Van der Poel moment’. The racing ‘boss’ sent his first warning of an attack which is used to select the favorites group. Alaphilippe showed he had the pace to keep up with him, even for then. Pedersen and Vermeesch decided to continue the Dutchman’s attempt, which served to neutralize the escape just over fifty kilometers from the finish. Michael Matthews suffered for several kilometers of the exchange of blows.

Oier Lazkano was seenwho is trying to keep pace with Van der Poel. A blown Iván García Cortina is among the best, always among the favorites. So the Asturian from Movistar decided to take center stage an attack on Koppenberg, about 47 kilometers from the finish. However, as he began to open up some space on his rivals, his bike failed in the middle of a wet stretch of cobblestoneswhich forced him to descend for a few seconds which turned out to be fatal, in the middle of his sidereal career, to his chances of seeking victory.

As the group of favorites closed the distance behind. Van der Poel, Jorgenson and Mads Pedersen They are the only ones capable of climbing that part of the Koppenberg on their bike, without stepping on the ground, to gain a few seconds. Van der Poel is in charge of doing the rest: without slowing down, he gradually opens up the space to solo. From behind, Cortina tries to catch Jorgenson’s wheel and attack the chasing group again.

Ahead, the race now has an owner: that of a released Van der Poel, alone, with a constant but uninterrupted rhythm. The Dutchman from Alpecin arrived alone at Kwaremont, fully launched more than a minute and a half ahead of his pursuers. Attacks and attacks took place between them in search of the podium. Jorgenson tried it, Cortina tried it. Bettiol and Teuns arrive. Total fight for top3.

The Spanish suffered while Van der Poel succeeded in Paterberg without any problems, the last difficulty of the day. García Cortina saw how the fierce fight in the chase, with the podium at stake, fought against his weakness after a great effort that left him in the last kilometers of fighting for it, with a group of eleven a runner gathered in the fight for the podium.

In front, Van der Poel He never stopped advancing to the finish line. Then 6 hours, 5 minutes and 23 secondsthe Dutchman triumphantly raised his bike to celebrate He is now a living legend of one of the most legendary races on the planet, cycling.. Behind the sprint between the chasing pack, Luca Mozzato (Arkéa) took second and Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) third. Ivan García Cortinaafter paying for the damage in the last kilometers, I saw how the top 10 option eluded him in a race where he shined in his own light, but finished in twenty-sixth place. Oier Lazkanoafter being seen for a good part of the race, was seventy-three.

while, Van der Poel achieves third Tour of Flanders on his record, his fifth ‘monument’ after his Milan-San Remo and his Paris-Roubaix last year. He has already accumulated forty-eight victories in his career, two this season after winning the E3 Saxo Classic a few days ago (he was also second in Ghent-Wevelgem). Because the Tour of Flanders concludes the events in this Belgian area this part of the year. And, to them, The Dutch runner, with a track record that frightens even his twenty-nine years, is still the king.

Classification of the Tour of Flanders 2024

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Pba/Alpecin-Deceuninck) 6:05:17
2. Luca Mozzato (Ita/Arkéa-B&B Hotels) in 1:02
3. Nils Politt (Ale/UAE Emirates) id.
4. Mikkel Bjerg (Din/UAE Emirates) id.
5. António Morgado (By/UAE Emirates) id.
6. Magnus Sheffield (USA/INEOS Grenadiers) id.
7. Oliver Naesen (Bél/Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team) id.
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel/Israel-Premier Tech) id.
9. Alberto Bettiol (Ita/EF Education-EasyPost) id.
10. Toms Skujins (Let/Lidl-Trek) id.​

26. Iván García Cortina (ESP/Movistar) at 2’41”
73. Oier Lazkano (ESP/Movistar) in 11’07”
77. Carlos Canal (ESP/Movistar) in 11’49”
Albert Torres (Movistar) did not finish.

Source: La Verdad

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