“To win is incredible”: Van der Poel clinches victory in style at Tour of Flanders; Leaves Pogacar in frustrating fourth


“To win is incredible”: Van der Poel clinches victory in style at Tour of Flanders; Leaves Pogacar in frustrating fourth

Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel kept his cool in the intense final of the Tour of Flanders, claiming a second victory in the event after an exciting sprint finish. Tadej Pogacar, who dominated for most of the race was left frustrated as Van der Poel took a victory at the end.

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The Dutch rider followed Pogacar for most of the race, but produced a perfectly timed last attempt with only 250m to go. The Tour de France champion was left in shambles, as he could only finish fourth in the event, getting overtaken by two other athletes as well. Pagacar was going for his third monument title, but was competing at Flanders for the first time. Pogacar was visibly frustrated after crossing the finish line, but could only blame himself for his poor decisions that day.

“In the first moment I was really disappointed because I couldn’t do my sprint. I was boxed in, but that’s cycling. I was not even mad [with] anyone. It might have seemed that way but I was frustrated with myself.”

Four way race perfectly timed by Van der Poel to take the Tour of Flanders title

Mathieu van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel

Pogacar took the lead for around 272.5km race. A mid race brutal climb meant that only Van der Poel could actually keep up with Pogacar. On the next hill he attacked again, this time Van der Poel and Madouas being able to keep up with him. Thls trio was caught by Van Baarle with 38km left.

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The third and final climb saw Van der Poel keep up with Pogacar. As they started to exchange and fight for leads, the other two athletes caught up with them. Van der Poel waited until that moment to start his sprint and Pogacar was boxed in, missing out on a well deserved podium finish.

“At first it wasn’t even sure if I would get to the Classics, [so] to win is incredible. I was just trying to hold the wheel of Tadej [on the climbs] … then I had a few kilometres to get the legs turning and focus on the sprint,” said Van der Poel to theguardian.com.

Also read: “Public will discover competitors’ suffering, pushing their limits and team spirit” – Tour de France, Netflix confirm eight-episode series