With almost a week now to digest the race and craft my post, the first thing I want to say about RVV2022 was that it was a culturual triumph.
After what feels a lot longer than 3 disrupted seasons it was really emotional ( even watching on tv) to see packed kerbsides full of fans watching “their race” go by in a celebration of Flemish culture.
Its something that never leaves you as an experience. Its 6 years since I saw the race in the flesh but on Flanders Sunday I always wear my (now tatty) yellow lion socks for training.
It becomes part of you.
The race was one for the fans to savour. In my view the absence of Wout Van Aert through Covid 19 opened up the race and whilst the early breakaway always felt within catching distance the counter attack that was clear before the 2nd time up the Oude Kwaremont had enough quality in it to make you think.
Ben Turner was the Brit in pole position for a while, before the Paterberg saw Fred Wright power off the front. From a domestic point of view, this attacking kept us engaged as Tom Pidcock didn’t seem to be back to his best.
Tadej Pogacar made one decisive attack which managed to merge a group he created with that front group but on the climbs in the run in it was clear that he and Mathieu Van der Poel were head and shoulders above the rest.
They finally shook off the remaining breakaway riders on the final climb of the Kwaremont. The 2-up they rode up until the final kilometre was one us club riders dream of being able to sit on the back of!
In the final KM though their co-operation broke down with both freewheeling and neither wanting to open up the sprint.
This opened the door for Dylan Van Baarle and Valentin Madouas to zoom up to them and start the sprint. Pogacar wasn’t happy and waved his arms in disgust. Van der Poel concentrated on his sprting and landed his second win in some style and in a race with some finish.
|1||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||500||275||6:18:30|
|2||VAN BAARLE Dylan||INEOS Grenadiers||400||200||,,|
|3||MADOUAS Valentin||Groupama – FDJ||325||150||,,|
|4||POGAČAR Tadej||UAE Team Emirates||275||120||,,|
|5||KÜNG Stefan||Groupama – FDJ||225||100||0:02|
|6||TEUNS Dylan||Bahrain – Victorious||175||90||,,|
|7||WRIGHT Fred||Bahrain – Victorious||150||80||0:11|
|8||PEDERSEN Mads||Trek – Segafredo||125||70||0:48|
|10||KRISTOFF Alexander||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||85||50|