Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) won, on Sunday April 3, for the second time in his career, the Tour of Flanders, one of the “monuments” of the cycling season, after a breathtaking final .
Already winner in 2020, van der Poel was ahead in the final sprint of this 106and edition his compatriot Dylan van Baarle and the Frenchman Valentin Madouas. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, the last winner of the Tour de France, took fourth place after the 273 kilometers of a race which attracted large crowds after two editions behind closed doors.
Pogacar, impressive throughout the race, temporized in the last hectometres to force van der Poel to start the sprint. But the duo saw the return of the first pursuers launched at full speed and the Slovenian found himself overwhelmed, unable to compete.
Victory for Mathieu van der Poel, Valentin Madouas 🇫🇷 on the podium!! After a breathless end of the race,… https://t.co/3A86kEG45l
Pogacar caused a first selection 55 kilometers from the finish, in the second of the three climbs of Old Kwaremont. Relayed by van der Poel, he continued skimming on the following climbs to keep only four other riders with him, van der Poel and Madouas as well as van Baarle and Briton Fred Wright who had anticipated.
“Pogacar was the strongest”
The winner of the Tour de France forced the pace on the third climb of Old Kwaremont, keeping only van der Poel by his side at the start of the last 18 kilometers. But he couldn’t outrun him on the last climb, the Patenberg, and the duo headed for Oudenaarde to fight for victory.
“I was on the verge of giving up at the top of the Paterbergacknowledged van der Poel. It’s a shame that Pogacar is not on the podium, he was the strongest today. »
At 27, the four-time cyclo-cross world champion now has two victories in a “monument”, the name of the biggest one-day races. He placed third in the last two on his program before the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix in October 2021 and Milan-Sanremo on March 19 for his first day of racing in 2022.
The grandson of Raymond Poulidor also has major successes to his name, such as the Amstel Gold Race 2019 and the Strade Bianche 2021. Last year, for his debut in the Tour de France, he won a stage and wore six days during this yellow jersey which had always been refused to his grandfather.
For his part, Valentin Madouas becomes the first Frenchman to climb on the podium of the Tour of Flanders since 2011 and Sylvain Chavanel, who finished 2and.