Van der Poel, “Home Alone” on the Tour of Flanders

Beyond reasonable similarity between Jonas Vingegaard and Macaulay Culkin, The role of the genius boy who was forgotten by his parents in the middle of the Christmas trip is played by Mathieu van der Poel (29 years). However, due to an exceptional circumstance, on this occasion he will take on the role of protagonist and top favorite to win the Tour of Flanders (9:45 a.m., Eurosport 1). And the massive decline that marked the result four days ago Through Flanders, He left his direct rivals for second place of the year in trouble or directly buried his classic calendar in the bud. To names like Mads Pedersen and Biniam Girmay we can classify them in the first case, while Jasper Stuyven And Wout van Aert, We place the worst unemployed with fractures of the sternum, collarbone and ribs in second place.

In his native Belgium (he was born in Kapellen), where he also lives, the Dutchman has everything to join the select club six cyclists who have won so far De Ronde 3 times (Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara), but that can work against you. Since the watch is a large reference, the responsibility of filling gaps may fall on it and cause excessive wear and tear. Double-edged weapon. “I have never hidden that I prefer to compete with the best at the beginning. If the The absence of Wout and Jasper will affect me, something that cannot be predicted in advance. There may be even more pressure on my shoulders, although the approach remains the same for me. I’ll just do my thing. Winning the Tour of Flanders is never easy and Sunday will be no different,” explained the Dutchman in the hours before the debut.

Route of the Tour of Flanders 2024.
Route of the Tour of Flanders 2024.AS diary

He also does not appear on the list of candidates. Tadej Pogacar. The Slovenian, who held a concert to claim victory last year, skipped Flanders this year by opting for an alternative calendar as part of his calendar Preparation for the Giro Tour double. Yes, there will be runners like that Matteo Jorgenson (winner in Through Flanders), Matej Mohoric, Kasper Asgreen, Stefan Küng, Alberto Bettiol, Tim Wellens, Michael Matthews and hopefully the Movistar duo consisting of Oier Lazkano and Iván García Cortina. “Trek is the biggest loser. They brought a great team with them and they showed that they ran these races well. And they’re almost there. “It’s a shame for them with the blockage they had,” explained the Asturian in the meeting with AS and other media before the race, referring to the events in A Través de Flandes.

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In this test, Lazkano was not able to show his best version: “I couldn’t be where I needed to be, it was solely because of the placement. The legs weren’t bad, but that’s a combination of everything. If you fail at one thing, you fail at the rest. My legs and sensations are fine.” Confidence, intact, especially after his tremendous performances in events such as Clásica Jaén (1st) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (3rd): “Of course I am aiming for a higher position than last year (He is retired). The hardness lies mainly at the end. It remains to be seen, but we will definitely play a big role.” There are 17 hills ahead, some of them cobbled, that runners will have to overcome on the 270.8 km route of this 108th edition of De Ronde. The approach in the always decisive final chain of Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg is clear: everyone against Van der Poel.

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