Van der Poel takes second victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen
In the 76th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen, the riders treated the fans to an eventful race. This included Mathieu van der Poel, who accelerated for the first time 90 km from the finish line. The Dutchman eventually went to the line with Benoot and sprinted to his second win in Waregem. Pidcock finished in 3rd place.
True to tradition, the breakaway formed in the first hour of the race after the start in Roeselare. 5 escapees will colour the race: Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jacobs (Movistar Team), O'Brien (Team BikeExchange - Jayco), Verwilst (Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise) and Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB). They have a maximum lead of 4'50".
We don't have to wait until deep into the final to see real racing. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) didn't come to just ride along, as it turned out with 90km to go. The Dutchman puts on a first gear, but it doesn't make a difference. At 75 km from the finish Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal), who made this race a goal, thinks his moment has come. He gets Küng (Groupama FDJ) and Turner (INEOS Grenadiers) along, but they do not get away either.
A new attempt follows at Berg Ten Houte. There the men of INEOS Grenadiers put the fuse on. An interesting group is formed: Pidcock, Turner, Küng, Van der Poel and Benoot (Jumbo-Visma). Who missed the battle? The men of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and also Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). On the Kanarieberg, Stybar tries to put things right and Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën Team) also tries to attack. It's only when Pogacar takes over that the gap opens. The Slovenian goes looking for the group of Van der Poel by himself.
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On the way to the Trieu, Pogacar looks to close the gap on the chasing group. He comes up to 8 seconds, but can't close that last gap. Chasse-patate for the two-time Tour winner, who is caught up by the peloton. In the meantime, the lead of the leading group of 5 is shrinking. At 48 km from the finish their story is over and the group of Van der Poel comes to the front. We now have a leading group of 11 with about 20 seconds advantage on the group Pogacar which formed on the Trieu, with Van Avermaet, Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious), Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Coquard (Cofidis).
Küng and Benoot accelerate on Ladeuze. Everyone is in the lead, except for early escapees Paasschens, Verwilst and Jacobs, for whom the pace is too high. Partly because of that acceleration, the advantage of the 8 leaders on the chasers increases to 40 seconds. On the cobbles of the Doorn, Pogacar, Tratnik and Madouas accelerate again, bringing the gap to just under half a minute.
In front, Van der Poel accelerates again on the cobbles of Nokereberg, but everyone follows. A little later Campenaerts thinks his moment has come, his attack is also nipped in the bud. Due to the various accelerations, the leading group is now winning time on the Pogacar group. On the last climb of the day, Holstraat, Van der Poel and Küng try to accelerate, but it is Campenaerts who breaks away in the descent. Campenaerts seems to start a solo, but after Pidcock and Benoot jump in Campenaerts’ slipstream, also Van der Poel brings the rest back.
At about 3 km from the finish Campenaerts throws himself into the descent once again. Again it's Benoot who jumps, but that story also fails. Pidcock closes the gap under the banner of the 2 final kilometres and attacks. Benoot attacks from behind and brings Van der Poel with him. The duo ride together to the Verbindingsweg where Van der Poel launches the sprint from the front. He wins Dwars door Vlaanderen for the second time. Benoot comes second in the wake of the Dutchman. Pidcock sprints to the third place.