Asgreen defeats Van der Poel to be the new king in Flanders

The Dane defeated the big favorite in the final sprint. The two of them had been the strongest in the Monument. Van Aert yielded to the pair.


Kasper Asgreen is the new king of the Tour of Flanders. And he did so by defeating the owner of the throne and top seed, Mathieu van der Poel, in the final sprint. The two were the strongest in the Monument and dueled in the final sprint. The Dutchman traced his strategy to that of 2020, the one that gave him the crown against Van Aert, but this time he found himself in front of a very strong cyclist, able to withstand the violence of the start of the Alpecin phenomenon, who ended up giving up when he saw that Asgreen not only endured him, but surpassed him, to climb to the top of a podium completed by Van Avermaet. A tremendous success for the Danish champion, who had already been second in this classic in 2019 and this season had already scored another illustrious race, E3 Harelbeke.

Van der Poel must have already smelled something at the Oude Kwaremont, almost 55 km before, when Asgreen answered him perfectly. The escape of the day, with the Movistar Norsgaard, had been diluted and the Dutchman starred in the first attack between favorites, and it was the Dane who reacted with more solvency. There, Van Aert was able to catch up with them, who led several riders to his wheel, although the movement had already uncovered the cards, and the Alpecin and the Danish Deceuninck (which changed its name to Elegant for commercial reasons) seemed to have the winners. .

The pair stood out again at the Paterberg, again unable to break the race. And both were part of the sextet that was formed in the lead along with Van Aert, Alaphilippe and two Bahrain, Haller and Teuns. Turgis, too, was able to join after an extraordinary effort at the Kruisberg. However, two teams had the possibility of pulling strategy by bringing in two men, Bahrain and Deceuninck, and the Belgian wolf pack, as the formation calls itself, took advantage of it. Alaphilippe gave the lead to his teammate Asgreen to try to break the race. He succeeded, albeit with illustrious company: Van Aert and Van der Poel.

The trio reached the old Kwaremont, on their third and final step about 17 km from the finish line. Van der Poel took advantage of his ramps to accelerate with that supernatural power that characterizes him, the same that led him to glory in the last Strade Bianche with a savage attack in Santa Catarina. Asgreen, who at first could not weld himself to his wheel, regulated well to catch up with him on the flat. When they both looked back they saw Van Aaert's defeated face. The race was a matter of two.

And that's how they played it on the last straight. Van der Poel in front, controlling, waiting for the moment to launch the sprint. Asgreen, at his wheel, with the confidence of one who feels that his legs respond to him. "I felt really good to contest the sprint," he later revealed. Boy did he show it. He endured Van der Poel's beastly snatch to the point that in a few meters he caught up with him. The Dutchman, at that moment, lowered his head. He was to pay homage to the new king of Flanders: Kasper Asgreen.

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