Mathieu van der Poel wins Tour of Flanders in duel against Wout van Aert
Oct 18 2020 09:53 pm CET

Mathieu van der Poel wins Tour of Flanders in duel against Wout van Aert
Mathieu van der Poel wins Tour of Flanders in duel against Wout van Aert
Photo of Mathieu van der Poel (c)Alpecin-Fenix

Fenix-Alpecin's Mathieu van der Poel has taken the victory of the Tour of Flanders. The rider was the strongest at the two-men final sprint against Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

The 104th edition of the Flemish race was 243.3 kilometres long with a start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde over a route that included most of the famous climbs that make it one of the iconic races of the calendar. The race took place without public as the Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium became stronger and the organisation asked people to stay away from it.

Early on the race a front group was formed by five riders, including Danny van Poppel, Gijs Van Hoecke and Gregor Mühlberger. Although the German rider of Bora-hansgrohe suffered a crash as his mussette got tangled in the handlebars, he could make his return to his fellow escapees.

The escape was finished with around 50 kilometres to go and several riders tried to get away on the next cobbled sector, the Koppenberg, including Romain Bardet, Julian Alaphilippe and Dylan van Baarle. A strong group that included the current World Champion, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Oliver Naesen, Alberto Bettiol and Sep Vanmarcke, took the lead during this movement.

But Alaphilippe couldn't get enough, and he launched a new attack kilometres later and Van der Poel went away with him, and during the climb of the Taaienberg, Van Aert also joined. With 34 kilometres to go, a race motorcycle stopped to let the leading trio pass and while Van Aert and Van der Poel managed to avoid it, Alaphilippe was distracted and crashed against it, having to abandon the race on the spot.

The duo -who have a story of rivalry since their times in cyclocross- continued in front while a strong chasing group that included riders like John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Naesen and Bettiol pushed hard to reduce the gap.

Van der Poel and Van Aert arrived together to the last kilometre, and they watched each other all the time until the Dutch national champion launched his sprint, which was strong enough to beat the Belgian by centimetres. Kristoff completed the podium of the last monument of the season.



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