Who will succeed Mathieu van der Poel in Flanders’ Finest?
The Flemish cycling spring season is gradually reaching its climax. On Sunday 2 April, it will once again be time for De Hoogmis, because then a new Tour of Flanders stands on the programme, starting in Bruges for the first time since 2016. Two-time winner Van der Poel will be challenged by Pogačar and Van Aert, among others.
Last year, Mathieu van der Poel sped to his second win in Oudenaarde. After his victory in Milan-Sanremo, Van der Poel is again among the top favourites. Alpecin-Deceuninck is sending Søren Kragh Andersen in support. The Dane grabbed fifth place in Sanremo.
A challenger with form is Wout van Aert. In 2020, the Belgian finished a narrow second behind Van der Poel. With Dylan van Baarle, second last year and winner of the opening classic, Tiesj Benoot, who has also won this spring, and Christophe Laporte, the Dutch team has several aces up their sleeve.
The other big name, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), is not missing from the start in Bruges either. He came close to winning on his debut last year, but had to settle for fourth place. As a strong duo in support, he is joined by Belgian in form Tim Wellens and road captain Matteo Trentin. Switzerland’s Marc Hirschi will also be at the start.
Soudal Quick-Step also has several irons in the fire for Flanders’ Finest with former world champion Julian Alaphilippe, on the one hand, and former winner Kasper Asgreen on the other. Davide Ballerini, winner of Omloop het Nieuwsblad in 2021, and Yves Lampaert will accompany their team-mates on the road to Oudenaarde.
For Ineos Grenadiers, Olympic mountain bike champion and Strade Bianche winner Tom Pidcock is on the provisional list of participants. By his side at the start will be Magnus Sheffield, winner of De Brabantse Pijl in 2022, and Michał Kwiatkowski. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), who made history last year in Gent-Wevelgem, rides his very first Tour of Flanders. Mike Teunissen and Taco van der Hoorn will assist him along the way.
AG2R Citroën Team is bringing the Belgian duo Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen to the start in Bruges. Van Avermaet made the podium in 2021, but has never tasted success in Oudenaarde. We see another duo at Trek-Segafredo in the form of former world champion Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven. There are still more Belgians at the start with Israel-Premier Tech. Dylan Teuns, who finished sixth last year, is joined by Sep Vanmarcke.
Former winner Alberto Bettiol will be appearing at the start for EF Education-EasyPost. With Peter Sagan, we find another former winner at TotalEnergies. He is joined by Anthony Turgis. Groupama-FDJ are counting on Valentin Madouas, third in Oudenaarde last year. He will ride alongside Swiss rider Stefan Küng. Also on the provisional list of participants are the names of former winner Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) and Zdeněk Štybar (Team Jayco Alula).
We will find out who succeeds Mathieu van der Poel on the Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde on Sunday 2 April at around 16:30! Discover the provisional start list here.