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Cycling/Tour of Flanders – Kasper Asgreen new king of Flanders

After the postponement of Paris-Roubaix, the 2021 edition of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen is the attraction of the spring. The 2 favourites to beat are Van Aert and Van der Poel. The team of world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Deceunick Quick-Step will be able to play the spoilsport.

From the start of the race, the tension is palpable. In the fight for the breakaway, Fedorov and Vergaerde push each other to the front of the peloton. A dangerous behaviour that will lead to disqualification. Meanwhile, 7 men took part in a breakaway that had a lead of up to 12 minutes on the peloton. After 100 kilometres, Deceunick and Jumbo Visma start to move to the front of the peloton, to reduce the gap. After the first of the 3 passes of the Oude Kwaremont, the peloton is only 9 min 30 behind. 

Mathieu Van der Poel’s team is back in the lead as soon as the cobbled climbs start to follow each other. There are still 100 kilometres to go and the riders start to get tense. The peloton starts to lose some riders at the back and the breakaway loses time. At the 66th kilometre, a first big crash sends ten riders to the ground, Silvan Dillier and Oscar Riesebeek give up. Less than 10 kilometres later and just before the Oude Kwaremont, another crash occurs, but more fear than harm. 

Damages and attacks…

This new climb of Oude Kwaremont causes a lot of damage. Deceuninck and Van der Poel accelerate, and many riders are dropped. Just after the passage of the Paterberg, the sorting is done! Van der Poel attacks again with 50 km to go, a group of 10 riders forms just behind the breakaway. In the Koppenberg, with 44 kilometres to go, Julian Alaphilippe attacks and drops all his rivals. At the end of the climb, Van Aert, Van der Poel and around ten riders join him. 

A few kilometres further on, in the Taaienberg, 6 riders break away and create a big gap behind them: Van Aert, Van der Poel, Alaphilippe, Asgreen, Haller and Teuns. Behind these 6 riders, a group of 13 riders tries to come back. But, with 28 kilometres to go, on a new cobbled climb, Anthony Turgis breaks away from the chasing group and joins the group of 6 that has resisted to the new attack of Alaphilippe. At the moment of the junction, Van Aert and Van der Poel broke away together with Kasper Asgreen and took about 20 seconds of advantage on the 4 others. 

25 seconds only!

Shortly before the last climb of the Oude Kwaremont, the 13 chasers join the group of Alaphilippe and the gap between the 2 groups is only 25 seconds! In the chasing group, Turgis and Van Avermaet break away and see the 3 favourites until Van der Poel attacks again. The Dutchman breaks Van Aert but Kasper Asgreen perseveres. The victory will be decided between the two. 

In the sprint, the outsider of the day Kasper Asgreen crushes Van der Poel who cracks with 50 metres to go! Greg Van Avermaet takes 3rd place ahead of Stuyven. The Danish rider wins his first Ronde Van Vlaanderen in a very strong way! 

Léo Godefroy 

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