Van der Poel triumphed
Mathieu van der Poel was celebrating in the drizzle of Oudenaarde like a triumphator, Tadej Pogacar cursed hard and rolled completely frustrated to the bus. In the gripping final of the 106th Flanders tour, Radstar van der Poel in the Sprint had sovereign the nose, while Pogacar had the poker overwhelmed and at his first rond as a fourth without podium remained. Second was the Dutch Dylan van Baarle in front of the Frenchman Valentin Madoua. German drivers did not matter.
"I've worked very hard, have given 100 percent and just happy that it worked," said Van der Poel after his second victory at the Ronde. In the final of the 272.5 kilometers long Hatz over the Flemish cobblestone hills, everything looked for a sprint between Van der Poel and Pogacar. But the duo already poked several hundred meters in front of the goal, so that Madouas and van Baarle still closed.
"He was the strongest today and I would have applauded him with a victory.
Mathieu van der Poel over Tadej Pogacar
The big loser was then Pogacar - a rare feeling for the 23 year old Slovenes and twice the winner of the Tour de France. "He was the strongest today and I would have applauded him with a victory," said Van der Poel. In the end, the Dutch cross-specialist himself celebrated its second success in Flanders, after he had lost the sprint against Kasper Asgreen in the previous year.
Without the Great Favorites Wout Van Aert, the rond was open as long ago. The Belgian master was missing due to a coronavirus infection and so van der Poel, Asgreen and Pogacar counted at their first participation to the favorite circle. Tour winner Pogacar shrugged at the Oude Kwaremont 55 kilometers prior to the aim first, but the other winners could not dissociate themselves.
In the short subsequent Paterberg, the race flew apart again, the German hopes of Nils Polit and John Degenkolb were no longer there. Pogacar steep Koppenberg reached again on up to 22 percent Koppenberg, this time was followed by the favorites only Van der Poel. Asgreen had massive bad luck as he jumped down the chain in the rose.
Pogacar and van der Poel first found themselves in a five-member top group, which already decisively settled by the rest of the field. At the Oude Kwaremont, the penultimate climb, Pogacar attacked again and only the Poel followed. When the Dutcher also neutralized the last Pogacar attack on the Paterberg with great effort, everything was prepared for a thrilling sprint finale - which was then due to the gambling.
Edge among the first outliers
For the first time since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, spectators were admitted again without restrictions along the route. The organizers counted up to one million fans. They first saw a German outlier. Max Edter from Team Movistar attacked with eight other drivers a few kilometers after the start at the Grote Market of Antwerp.
Although the group never got ahead of four and a half minutes, but held up to 55 kilometers before the finish. Only when the field several attacks accelerated the race, the escape was over after a good 200 kilometers. In the final nobody played a role in the finals.