On Friday, Mathieu van der Poel looked ahead to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. The Dutchman talked about his form and the incident with Wout van Aert after Gent-Wevelgem. “I see Wout and Julian Alaphilippe as my biggest competitors for Sunday,” said the Alpecin-Fenix rider.
The Dutchman says he is in good shape. “I was good in the Brabantse Pijl, Gent-Wevelgem was perhaps a little less, but at the crucial moments I was on top of the game,” said Van der Poel. “I haven’t had much time to train for the rest. it was mainly a matter of driving loose and getting enough rest. ”
The Ronde must be his highlight of the season for Van der Poel. “I’m always focused on important goals, so it’s not like I feel more stressed than usual. I learned from last year’s edition that I should be less nervous. In the run-up to the Kwaremont, it is better for me to be in thirtieth position than to be on the ground in front of the Kwaremont. ”
“Too bad that match is shorter”
“If I’m good, I shouldn’t fear anyone,” the Dutchman thinks. “The ideal scenario is of course that I drive to the finish alone. But I don’t think I should be afraid of anyone in the sprint, especially after a long and tough race. Normally I’m good at that, which is why I think it’s a shame that the race is thirty kilometers shorter this year. ”
Van der Poel does not have to think long about his biggest competitors for the victory. “Wout van Aert anyway, but we have seen in Gent-Wevelgem that some boys still have good legs. I saw Julian Alaphilippe riding up a cobbled climb in the Brabant Arrow and that also gave a good impression, I must say. ”
Finally, the Alpecin-Fenix rider also mentioned the verbatim clash with Wout van Aert after Gent-Wevelgem. “I saw that there was still something to do about that on social media, but for me that was actually closed on Sunday evening,” says Van der Poel;