Tour of Flanders Live – Mathieu Van der Poel attacks solo


Dries De Bondt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A moment’s thought for Teuns and Bettiol, who appeared to have podium places sewn up before being caught agonisingly on the finishing straight. Instead, they have to settle for eighth and nine respectively.

Regarding Matthews’ relegation, it seems he’s been punished for deviating from his line and not allowing Politt any room to pass him by the barrier. Politt was visibly incensed and believed his line had been unfairly blocked – and so to, it seems, did the commissaires.

The victory means Van der Poel draws level with Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Johan Museeuw, Eric Leman, Fiorenzo Magni and Achiel Buysse on the all-time list with three victories. At the age of just 31, he has plenty of time to do what none of those riders could, and become the first man in history to win a fourth title.

An update on the podium finish – Michael Matthews has been relegated for dangerous sprinting, meaning that Nils Politt has instead been promoted to third-place.

Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Deceuninck celebrates after winning the men's race of the 'Ronde van Vlaanderen' (Tour des Flandres) one day cycling race, 270,8 km from Antwerp to Oudenaarde, on March 31, 2024. (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / Belga / AFP) / Belgium OUT

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To put Van der Poel’s win into perspective, it’s a considerably bigger margin than the 16 seconds Tadej Pogačar won by last year, which was the first time the Ronde had been won solo since 2019. 

But one thing that certainly was not a surprise was the winner. Van der Poel delivered everything that was expected of him and then some, not showing any signs of the pressure he was under. His eventual winning margin of 1-02 might not have been as big as it looked like being when he grew a lead of almost two minutes on the Oude Kwaremont, but it’s still huge.

Plenty of other surprise names in the top ten as well as Mozzato: who would have predicted Bjerg, Morgado and Sheffield to also finish so highly?

Meanwhile third-place for Michael Matthews is a first ever Tour of Flanders podium for the Australian, and follows his second-place finish at Milan-Sanremo. Whereas he was devastated to get so close to winning that time, surely he’ll be delighted at this result given the impossibility of anybody stopping Van der Poel.

Not just a huge result for Mozzato, but surely the best of his career.

It seems Mozzato edged out Matthews for second-place. That’s a huge result for both the Italian, and his Arkéa – B&B Hotels team.

…they catch them just in time! Matthews and Mozzato…

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