Van der Poel cements his legacy with a third Tour of Flanders victory

In a display of sheer dominance, Mathieu van der Poel etched his name in the history books by securing his third victory at the Tour of Flanders. On a day where the elements tested the peloton’s mettle, Van der Poel, adorned in the world champion’s jersey, launched a decisive attack on the Koppenberg’s cobbled ascent, distancing himself from the competition and soloing to a historic win in Oudenaarde.

“My season is already a success now,” Van der Poel remarked, reflecting on his monumental victory. “Winning the Tour of Flanders in the world champion’s jersey is a dream come true. That was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, with the weather.”

The battle for the podium was fierce, with Luca Mozzato securing second place. However, the race was not without its controversies, as Michael Matthews was relegated from third place by the race jury, a decision that elevated Nils Politt to the podium. “I am super happy with this result. I think we deserve it today as a team,” Politt expressed, acknowledging the jury’s decision.

Among the chaos, Magnus Sheffield of Ineos Grenadiers navigated the challenging conditions to claim a career-best sixth place. “It was a proper team effort today, and we can be happy that we left it all out there,” Sheffield said, highlighting the collective determination of his team.

The race was defined by its punishing weather, with rain and cold adding an extra layer of difficulty. Van der Poel’s strategic brilliance was on full display as he made his move on the Koppenberg, a climb that proved to be a turning point in the race. “It was just survival today,” he admitted. “Those last 20km were with my eyes closed. I was so devastated that I didn’t think much.”

Yves Lampaert walks up the Koppenberg
(Photo Credit: Getty)

Behind Van der Poel’s remarkable performance, the peloton was left to vie for position. Matteo Jorgenson, who bravely attempted to chase down Van der Poel after the Koppenberg, eventually finished in 31st place, a testament to the day’s brutal conditions. “We gave it all and I was in the top-10. I gave everything I could in the sprint,” Jorgenson reflected on his effort, despite the disappointment of running out of gas in the chase.

The race’s finale was marked by the iconic climbs of Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, where Van der Poel solidified his lead, leaving fans and competitors in awe of his mastery. “The Koppenberg, we were walking up it. It felt like we were doing cyclocross,” Sheffield recounted, painting a vivid picture of the day’s challenges.

As Van der Poel celebrated his victory, the rest of the peloton grappled with the day’s demands. Alberto Bettiol and Dylan Teuns made their moves in the latter stages of the race, but it was the chaotic sprint in Oudenaarde that ultimately decided the remaining podium spots, marking an end to a thrilling and unpredictable edition of De Ronde. Van der Poel’s triumph at the Tour of Flanders cements his legacy as one of cycling’s greats.

2024 Tour of Flanders Men result

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Main photo credit: Getty

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