There is life beyond the stars

At the two Monuments this year, both Stuyven and Asgreen were surprising despite the clear favoritism of the trio of Van Aert, Van der Poel and Alaphilippe.

In today's cycling scene, when one thinks of classics, three names are quickly associated with these types of races: Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe. And especially if we refer to Monuments, where these three phenomena have us accustomed (or unaccustomed) to shining with their own light above the rest of mortals.

Not in vain, in a 2020 course seriously punished by the pandemic, the great stars did not fail their appointment with the top of the podium in Milan-San Remo (Van Aert), Tour of Flanders (Van der Poel), Lombardy (Fuglsang ) or Liège (Roglic). Not forgetting, apart from Monuments, the rainbow jersey conquered by Alaphilippe, Marc Hirschi's Walloon Arrow or Van Aert's own Strade Bianche. They did not even leave the crumbs ... However, the paradigm seems to have changed in the 2021 season. And it is that in the two Monuments contested, none of the 'three tenors' has achieved the triumph, with the addition that secondary of authentic luxury took the lead roles: Jasper Stuyven and Kasper Asgreen.

In spite of his surprising conquests in Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders, respectively, it should be noted that we are not talking about just two riders for one-day races. Not surprisingly, Stuyven already had the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on his record, while Asgreen won the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne that same season. So far this year, which is not little, Van Aert has to settle for having won Ghent-Wevelgem, while Van der Poel does the same with his success at Strade Bianche. For his part, Alaphilippe remains blank this year in a one-day race (he won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico) where we also saw Ballerini surprise in Oomlop Het Nieuwsblad and Van Baarle in Across Flanders. Will the surprises continue in the Ardennes?

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