Classic Race Report: Three of the best riders of the season where together for for the victory in the 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen. World champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Elegant – Quick-Step) was taken out by a motorbike leaving the old enemies, Mathieu van der Poel (Fenix-Alpecin) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to sprint it out at the line for the Dutch champion to take the victory.
It was close at the line
Mathieu van der Poel won the 104th edition of the Tour of Flanders. After a race of 244 kilometres, the Alpecin-Fenix rider beat his fellow break companion, Wout van Aert in a man-against-man sprint.
Van der Poel at the start
De Ronde course
A peloton of 172 riders gathered in Antwerp on Sunday morning for a redesigned route with seventeen climbs. Immediately after race director Scott Sunderland dropped the flag, the battle to get in the break of the day began.
Cav’s last race?
The ‘Break of the Day’ led by Gregor Mühlberger (BORA-hansgrohe). He crashed when he caught his musette in his brake lever
In the super-fast early section through the Waasland, a leading group of six riders formed after a few frantic attempts: Dimitri Peyskens (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC), Fabio Van Den Bossche (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Danny van Poppel (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Gregor Mühlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) and Samuele Battistella (NTT).
Early for Christmas – The peloton pass through Sint-Niklaas
Bike change for the World champion, Julian Alaphilippe
Julien Vermote (Cofidis) tried to cross on his own, but eventually had to give up. On the cobblestones of the Lippenhovestraat and the Paddestraat 150 kilometres from the end, the lead was 7:30 for the leaders. At the head of the peloton, Tim Declercq controlled the pace for the renamed for the day, Elegant – Quick-Step. Muhlberger crashed during the feed, but quickly rejoined.
CCC and Trek-Segafredo had control
Cold like the spring
Wout van Aert and Tim Wellens crashed on before the Kortekeer with more than 115 kilometres to go, but were able to continue. On the Kortekeer Edvald Boasson Hagen decided to break away from the peloton, but his move was short-lived. His attempt was over on the Leberg. Although the peloton had to stop at a closed level crossing.
Crash for Van Aert
The train slowed the peloton for a little time
On the Valkenberg Jasper De Buyst attacked, which ensured that the pace in the peloton increased again. On his initiative, a group formed, but because of the fast pace, they failed to stay away. The lead of the front riders had now decreased to 3 minutes. Due to the slippery road surface, several riders – including Jasper Stuyven and Sep Vanmarcke – crashed. With Max Walscheid another NTT rider tried solo, but his attempt was also pointless.
Two World champions – Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe
There were some fans on the roadside, but not many
Just before the second passage of the Oude Kwaremont, Peyskens dropped out of the leading group. Just after the Paterberg, the escape was over 50 kilometres from the end. On the way to the Koppenberg, Dylan van Baarle and Romain Bardet took off together, before Julian Alaphilippe put in a move on the Bult van Melden. On his initiative, the peloton was further thinned.
No fans on the Paterberg
The Break hung on for a long time – Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC) and Samuele Battistella (NTT)
Towards the Taaienberg Alaphilippe tried again and it was Mathieu van der Poel who reacted. On the climb, Wout van Aert also managed to make the connection. For Alaphilippe De Ronde came to an early end when he crashed into a motorcycle 35 kilometres out.
Van der Poel staying close to the front
Alaphilippe made the winning move
Van der Poel and Van Aert continued together, with a lead of three-quarters of a minute on the chasing group. The two worked well together, increasing the lead further. During the last ascent of the Paterberg, the two leaders did not give each other an inch. In the last 13 kilometres, the two stayed together so we would have a direct duel in the streets of Oudenaarde.
Van der Poel, Van Aert and Alaphilippe away for the win
Just when it looked like we would have the top three riders of the moment fight for the victory, Alaphilippe hit the back of a motorbike
Van Aert forced Van der Poel into the lead, so that after a true poker game the Dutch champion was the first to go. With a powerful acceleration he raced towards the finish. Van Aert failed to pass, so Van der Poel was the first to cross the finish-line with a very narrow difference.
And then there were two
Together to the sprint
2020 Tour of Flanders winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Fenix-Alpecin). “I have no words for it. I wasn’t sure. Normally I always know, but I was devastated after the sprint. Suddenly that line was there. I did a jump and didn’t look at Wout’s wheel anymore. We both didn’t know who won. I kept believing in it. I knew I had to do the sprint of my life to beat Wout. But I did everything perfectly. The longer he wanted to wait, the better it was for me. The fact that he did not engage was a sign to me that he was also on the limit. I caught him perfectly. He came halfway next to me. I was up to my ears in lactic but kept sprinting. I thought I was late. I also did not dare to cheer. I asked for confirmation ten times before it was clear. This makes up for so much.”
The Monument win for Van der Poel
# Keep it PEZ for the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. #
Tour of Flanders Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 5:43:17
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
4. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
5. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Elegant – Quick-Step
6. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis
7. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb
11. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren
12. Florian Senechal (Fra) Elegant – Quick-Step
13. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Elegant – Quick-Step
14. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
15. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
16. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling
17. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Pro Cycling at 0:16
18. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:41
19. Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
20. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
21. Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling
22. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
23. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
24. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
25. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.