Will Superman van der Poel win?

Will Superman van der Poel win?

Elemental force: Mathieu van der Poel on the way to victory at Milan-Sanremo.
Image: AFP

The short, steep climbs of the Tour of Flanders are toxic and mean. Last year’s winner Mathieu van der Poel has left form crisis and other shadows behind. Will he win the next round?

Dhe Tour of Flanders is a classic, one of five monuments of cycling. This Sunday it will take place for the 107th time. It is the highlight of the year in a cycling-mad region. In Flanders is the heart of cycling, and when it’s pounding the hardest, then the “Ronde” starts. It is a national holiday and folk festival. The race is hard, incomparable. The worst are the nineteen short, steep climbs that have names like Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Koppenberg and sometimes have to be climbed several times.

The so-called slipways are randomly distributed in the landscape, poisonous, mean. Many riders fear them more than the peaks they have to climb in the Tour de France. Those who can still attack on the last slipways, those who still have the strength and willpower left, those who reach the long and flat finish straight into Oudenaarde alone or in a small group have the chance to win this monumental race. Like the Dutchman last year Mathieu van der Poel and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

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