Battle in Flanders

The second Cycling Monument starts with Van der Poel defending the title against Van Aert, the great favorites, and the world champion Alaphilippe. Curtain, to give a joy.


The Tour of Flanders, the second Monument of the season, brings together the classical elite this Sunday in its traditional heights and cobbled sections, although the focus of this 105th edition will focus on three names: Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe. The three start as great favorites to a test that returns to its original dates after last year the pandemic moved it to October and lived a duel between the three, with the Dutch victory over the Belgian on the same finish line. while the Frenchman was taken to the hospital after colliding with a motorcycle.

With that precedent, this 2021 edition is presented with Van Aert ready to take glory in his land. “This year I have been able to better prepare for the race. In 2020 it was after the Tour and my legs were good, but now I'm cooler on my head ”, says the Jumbo, who also came from winning at the Wevelgem Ghent. Meanwhile, Van der Poel, winner of the Strade Bianche, sows doubts by ensuring that he is not as good as he would like ... and points out as one of the great aspirants to an Alaphilippe who denies that he wants revenge: “It is an honor run the Rainbow Tour of Flanders and I'll try to prove it. ”

At the moment, the bets place the Belgian ahead of the Dutch and the Deceuninck rider, although the favoritism of the trio and the marking that they will carry out between them can open the range of applicants, which are many. Veterans hardened in a thousand battles such as Van Avermaet (three podiums but no triumphs), Kristoff (winner in 2015) or Peter Sagan (winner in 2016) emerge among the candidates to surprise. In the case of the 31-year-old Slovak, with the extra motivation of feeling somewhat belittled at the Bora even though he showed at the Volta that he can still win: “I don't feel old.”

With less pressure, the main Spanish asset will run, an Iván García Cortina who has finished in the top-30 of all the great classics that he has played this year and seeks to take that step forward to be considered a candidate. At 25 he still has room for improvement, and at Movistar he has all the confidence to continue growing. Accompanied by Serrano, Erviti and Lluis Mas (the four are the only Spaniards in the race), the Asturian must also find his place in the battle expected this Sunday in Flanders.

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