Cycling News

‘I knew the Koppenberg would be chaos’ – Mathieu van der Poel conquers Tour of Flanders on toughest climb

Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Deceuninck pictured in action on the Koppenberg during the men

The Koppenberg hasn’t always smiled on Mathieu van der Poel. In November 2018, still a few months away from transferring his cyclocross talents to top-level racing on the road, the Dutchman endured a torrid afternoon on its slopes at the Koppenbergcross.

After lumbering home in 21st place, an almost unthinkable four minutes down on the day’s winner, Van der Poel could only shake his head in resignation. Even though he had won the race the year before, his relationship with the steep cobbled climb at its heart was always an uneasy one. “No,” Van der Poel said that afternoon. “This is not my climb.”

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