2024 Men's Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen)

Tour Of Flanders 2024 Preview - Mathieu Van Der Poel Aims For Third Win

Tour Of Flanders 2024 Preview - Mathieu Van Der Poel Aims For Third Win

Mathieu van der Poel will be the one to watch in the 2024 Tour of Flanders. We preview the race favorites and course.

Mar 28, 2024 by Gregor Brown
Tour Of Flanders 2024 Preview

Mathieu van der Poel will be the one to watch this Sunday in the 2024 Tour of Flanders. The race is sure to produce all sorts of story lines and unpredictability as one of the hardest classics on the cycling calendar.

The Tour of Flanders or Ronde van Vlaanderen, as they say here in Belgium, covers some of the most difficult cobbled stretches and climbs throughout the Flemish countryside. It is legendary, one of cycling's five monuments, and as always, should produce edge of the seat action.

We are going to preview the course, the favorites, and why Wout van Aert is not racing, and yes, forecast the weather for Sunday.

Why Wout Van Aert Is Not Racing The 2024 Tour of Flanders

Wout van Aert of Team Visma-Lease a Bike fell in a massive incident with 67 kilometers remaining in the 2024 Dwars door Vlaanderen. He sat on the side of the road, and already you could tell that his chances of racing four days later in Flanders looked slim. The team confirmed later that he had broken his collarbone, and four ribs.

Due to his crash in Dwars, Van Aert will not only miss the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix – races he planned his season around – and the Amstel Gold Race, but is likely to miss the Giro d'Italia in May. We will probably see him race the Tour de France in July which was not originally on his schedule. The incident was a serious blow and setback for the Belgian.

The 2024 Tour of Flanders Course

The 108th Tour of Flanders course winds 270 kilometers (about 168 miles) through the Flemish countryside. Starting from the North in Antwerp, heading south to Oudenaarde, racing on cement motorways and cutting through farms that were once ravaged in World War I on small lanes.

The cobbled sectors like Paddestraat and Stationsberg will rip apart the group of nearly 200 cyclists and the climbs – like the Molenberg, Koppenberg, Kwaremont, Paterberg – will produce the 2024 victor. It's the final two circuits that cover the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, with just around 12 kilometers to race, that are so crucial – just ask 2023 winner Tadej Pogacar.

The Tour of Flanders Favorites

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) will not be back to defend his title in the 2024 Tour of Flanders. The Slovenian has other goals, like winning the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, so had to cut some things from his schedule. We just saw him beating up on the competition in the Volta a Catalunya, and he'll next race in Liège-Bastogne-Liège before the Giro d'Italia.

Wout van Aert re-tooled his entire winter and spring to be ready for the two big cobbled classics: Flanders and Roubaix. He's devastated, with broken bones and for sure spirit after everything he sacrificed to be ready.

Mathieu Van Der Poel Leads The Flanders Favorites

Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel is a two-time Flanders winner in 2020 and 2022 and the current world champion wearing the rainbow stripes. He was already the favorite and now stands heads and shoulders above the rest after Van Aert's Dwars crash. He debuted in Milano-Sanremo by helping Jasper Philipsen win, won E3 Saxo Classic over Van Aert, and placed second to Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) in Ghent-Wevelgem.

After seeing the crash in Dwars door Vlaanderen, Van der Poel will surely be happy he skipped the race ahead of Flanders. He will go in as captain, but can play heavily on Philipsen as the team's B-Plan.

Matteo Jorgenson Heads Mighty Visma Squad

Visma-Lease a Bike wanted to do the same with Van Aert and Matteo Jorgenson sitting shotgun. Jorgenson, however, has entered a new dimension after his win in Paris-Nice and of course, Dwars door Vlaanderen. Not only is he a back-up plan, but he's a leader. The American from Idaho will lead the super team into one of the biggest races on the calendar with support from Tiesj Benoot and Dylan Van Baarle.

Mads Pedersen and Lidl-Trek were definitely shaken with the Dwars door Vlaanderen crash. Pedersen could continue after falling, but his right-hand man Jasper Stuyven is out with a broken collarbone. Lidl-Trek will be tested as it tries to rebound, still with a strong team that includes Jonathan Milan, Toms Skujins, Ed Theuns, and Tim Declercq.

Other favorites for Sunday's race include Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) along with teammate Fred Wright. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) if he is not feeling too much pain from the Dwars crash. UAE Team Emirates with Tim Wellens and Marc Hirschi. Stefan Küng and Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ). And Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost).

Maybe I'm leaving someone out, a surprise winner like Bettiol a few years ago. If you have other names we should watch on the day, let us know.

How To Watch The 2024 Tour of Flanders

FloBikes will show the Tour of Flanders live for all of our viewers in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Highlights, interviews, and on the ground coverage for everyone.

Weather Forecast For The Tour of Flanders

After a few sunny days, more nasty Belgian weather is predicted for the Tour of Flanders this Sunday. Rain clouds are rolling in, all day Saturday and carrying over through Sunday. Expect a wet start to the race as the riders depart from Antwerp. Cold, around 7°C or 44°F, and not improving much during the day with more rain and 14°C or 58°F in the afternoon in Oudenaarde.

It will make the going tough on some of the sectors and climbs, with already bad traction becoming worse. Maybe we'll see less echelons, though, with winds not as high as what we saw in Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, but still windy from the east, 18kph or 11mph.

We will miss Wout van Aert, but with an American hope, the world champion at his peak, and many others, you won't want to miss the 2024 Tour of Flanders.