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Mathieu van der Poel crushes rivals to claim third Tour of Flanders title
Cycling Sport

Mathieu van der Poel crushes rivals to claim third Tour of Flanders title

The men’s world champion, Mathieu van der Poel, crushed his rivals with a devastating long-range attack to claim his third Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

In the women’s race, the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini came home first after outsprinting Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma and Shirin van Anrooij of the Netherlands.

Van der Poel, who now has five Monument titles to his name, produced a trademark brutal acceleration in the Koppenberg’s cobbled ascent, 45 kilometres from the finish, and never looked back as several riders had to step off their bikes. The cycling calendar has five Monuments: Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro di Lombardia.

Van der Poel also won Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix last year. He will be the heavy favourite for the Flanders-Roubaix double when he rides in the “Queen of the Classics” next Sunday.

The Dutchman, the first rider with five consecutive podium finishes on the Tour of Flanders, was in a class of his own in the Belgian rain in an event Wout van Aert missed after sustaining injuries in the Dwars door Vlaanderen one-day race on Wednesday.

The warm-up race was won by Matteo Jorgenson but the American cracked as he was chasing Van der Poel after the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider’s attack. The 29-year-old Van der Poel was in a class of his own and crossed the line more than a minute ahead of the Italian Luca Mozzato and the German Nils Politt, after the Australian Michael Matthews, initially third, was demoted following an irregular sprint after 270.8km.

Elisa Longo Borghini celebrates victory in the women’s raceView image in fullscreen

Britain’s Michael Tarling (Ineos) was 17th, Owain Doull (EF Education-Easypost) was 19th, Tarling’s teammate Ben Turner was 38th and Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) was 50th of 87 finishers. Tadej Pogacar, the defending champion, did not take part in the race as he is focusing on a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double this season.

Longo Borghini, of Lidl-Trek, was celebrating her second Tour of Flanders title, having won it first in 2015. Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) was the highest-placed British rider in the women’s event, 1min 46sec off the lead in 13th place.

Source: theguardian.com