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5 things we really want to see at the Tour of Flanders

5 things we really want to see at the Tour of Flanders

Is it already time for the Tour of Flanders? Sunday marks the 104th edition of De Ronde, and it’s poised to be a good one. Established in 1913, it stands as one of the oldest and most prestigious one-day races on the professional cycling calendar. Originally conceived by cycling journalist Karel Van Wijnendaele, the race was born out of a desire to showcase the challenging terrain and picturesque landscapes of the Flanders region. Over the years, the route has evolved, incorporating cobbled roads, steep climbs, and iconic sections such as the Koppenberg and the Muur van Geraardsbergen, which have become emblematic of the race’s toughness. The Tour of Flanders has witnessed legendary battles, heroic solo rides, and unexpected upsets, cementing its status as one of the five Monuments in cycling.

Given the tough parcours, there will be lots of gritty and dramatic racing, but here are some things that we hope to see.

1. A total battle royale between Tadej Pogačar, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert

We’ve already been treated to some stellar racing in 2024. Pog dominated the Volta a Catalunya, clinching victory in four out of seven stages. At Strade Bianche, Pogačar initiated a solo breakaway a staggering 81 km before the finish line, ultimately crossing it nearly three minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Pro peloton astounded by Pogačar’s, van der Poel’s, and van Aert’s performance levels

Similarly, van der Poel and van Aert have been a level up on the rest. At the E3 Saxo Classic, Mathieu van der Poel surged ahead with 44 km remaining, leaving Wout van Aert trailing behind due to an unfortunate crash coinciding with his Dutch rival’s attack. Despite van Aert’s efforts to close the gap, the race quickly turned into a battle between the two riders. Granted, Mads Pedersen took advantage of what seemed to be a fatigued van der Poel at Gent – Wevelgem, but it’s clear that the new Big Three–Pog, MvdP and van Aert, will be the ones to watch when the roads get steep and cobbly. The best thing we can hope for as fans if those three arrive together at one of the legendary climbs for a true test between them.

2. A Puck Pieterse upset

The Dutchwoman has made a name for herself off-road, dominating in both MTB and ‘cross, but her time on the road has been limited. She finished fifth at the 2023 Strade Bianche, and 7th and 8th at Gent – Wevelgem and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, respectively. Could we see a big result on Sunday? This will be…

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