|1||ASGREEN Kasper||Deceuninck – Quick Step||500||275||6:02:12|
|2||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||400||200||,,|
|3||VAN AVERMAET Greg||AG2R Citroën Team||325||150||0:32|
|4||STUYVEN Jasper||Trek – Segafredo||275||120||0:33|
|5||VANMARCKE Sep||Israel Start-Up Nation||225||100||0:47|
|6||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||175||90||,,|
|8||TURGIS Anthony||Team Total Direct Energie||125||70||,,|
|9||SÉNÉCHAL Florian||Deceuninck – Quick Step||100||60||,,|
|10||VAN BAARLE Dylan||INEOS Grenadiers||85||50||,,|
The big 3 favourites for all of the big 2021 races were outsmarted by the Danish Champion, Kasper Asgreen, in another epic edition of the Tour of Flanders on Easter Sunday.
(Click here for an excellent gallery from procyclingtips)
With the mornings suicidal breakaway managing to get close to a quarter of an hours lead, the finale of this race was always going to be fast and slightly ragged. At key points in the race, there was a real chance they would stay away.
As the race hit the finishing circuit and got into the meat of the climbs there was a merging of the main favourites and the break led by a Julian Alaphillippe attack.
From the front group, Paris-Nice revelation Stefan Bissegger of EF seemed the most capable of hanging on.
However the French world champion didn’t have the legs to see it through and when Asgreen went clear with Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout van Aert (although he was soon distanced) there was some head scratching from the experts.
That disbelief turned to open frustratin as after the last ascent of the Paterberg, Asgreen made no attempt to drop Van der Poel on the run in.
It was as if Quick-Step had conceded the race and MvdP was going to get back to back wins in the race without competition.
Still Asgreen took his turns and the two of them marched on towards Oudenaarde and the finish.
Greg Van Avermaet launched a desperate attack out of the chasers with just over 3km to go, but it was a move for the podium rather than the win.
The sprint for 1st place seemed to take an age to get going and Van der Poel got ahead of Asgreen before something quite remarkable happened.
Superman became human and the Dutchman sat back down as the Dane surged past him for the win.
Yes. Asgreen had been imperious in his cobbled classic wins over the last year or so, but that hadn’t been the level of the RVV. This was a real step up for him and a tactical masterclass by his team.
As the race watched Alaphillippe he kept himself to himself before only launching his attack when absolutely neccessary.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see round 2 at Paris Roubaix last weekend, but fingers crossed there will be futher encounters between these guys across the summer so the pot is still boiling come the autumn and the re-scheduled Hell of the North.