2021 Tour of Flanders (De Ronde van Vlaanderen)

Mathieu Van Der Poel, Wout Van Aert, Five Favorites For Tour Of Flanders

Mathieu Van Der Poel, Wout Van Aert, Five Favorites For Tour Of Flanders

The monument of Ronde van Vlaanderen or better known as the Tour of Flanders, takes place on Sunday, April 4thas the Classics season soon comes to a close.

Apr 1, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
Alaphilippe, Van Aert, The Flanders Favorites

The Belgian monument, de Ronde van Vlaanderen, better known as the Tour of Flanders, takes place on Sunday, April 4th as the Classics season soon comes to a close. 

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The 254 kilometer course covers 18 cobbled sectors, including the fearsome Koppenberg 45 kilometers from the finish. 

Like last season, coronavirus restrictions will prevent fans from lining the roads for what many consider to be the toughest of all the spring monuments. While the roadside atmosphere may be more subdued than normal, the racing certainly won't be. 

The start list is full of favorites, including a rematch between Mathieu Van Der Poel and Wout Van Aert. The star riders may be under extra pressure to perform this year. With Paris-Roubaix likely to be canceled or postponed, the Tour of Flanders may be the only cobbled monument this spring. 

Read on to see FloBikes' list of favorites for the Tour of Flanders.

Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

The defending champion, Mathieu Van Der Poel will have all eyes on him. The Dutch phenom chose to skip Gent-Wevelgem to focus his efforts on Flanders and Paris Roubaix. It will be another round between himself and his rival, Wout van Aert. The Belgian joked, after his win last week at Gent-Wevelgem, the only reason he won was due to the fact that Van Der Poel was not racing. 

The 2020 Tour of Flanders ended with an unforgettable track-style sprint between Van der Poel and Van Aert. Van der Poels sprinting ability combined with his attacking style makes him a clear favorite, and a pleasure to watch.

Once Van Der Poel chooses to attack, only a select few have been able to follow this season. His explosive display of strength attacking on the Via Santa Caterina in the final stretch heading to his victory at Strade Bianche left everyone in the dust, including World Champion Julian Alaphilippe and Tour de France Champion, Egan Bernal. 


Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

Hot off his win at last week’s Gent-Wevelgem, Van Aert skipped Dwars Door Vlaanderen for a short recovery ahead of Sunday’s race.  The Belgian has had a strong start to his season, winning the points classification at Tirreno-Adriatico, along with the opening stage. He missed a podium spot at Strade Bianche crossing the line in fourth, was third at Milano-Sanremo. A mechanical stripped him of a chance in the final sprint at E3 before finding his winning form again and a boost of confidence on home soil (cobbles) at Gent-Wevelgem. 

The multiple cobbled climbs and 22% gradient wall of the Koppenberg will play into the cyclocross strengths of both Van Aert and his rival, Van Der Poel.  Van Aert will have his teammate alongside him, Nathan Van Hooydonck, who played a key role in their winning break at Gent-Wevelgem.  

Julian Alaphilippe

The World Champion has found himself under the curse of the rainbow jersey, suffering mechanicals and crashes in the final kilometers of races since winning the coveted jersey last season. 

Alaphilippe was in the winning breakaway with Van Aert and Van Der Poel at last year’s edition of Flanders, but ran into the back of a race motorcycle, ending his chances in a bizarre crash with 35 kilometers to go. 

Alaphilippe began his season with a second place on GC at the Tour de la Provence and another second place at Strade Bianche. 

Deceuninck – Quick Step has a slew of strongmen to back him, including Davide Ballerini who won the opening Omloop Hans Nieuwsblad in February, along with Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, and Zdenêk Štybar


Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe)

Last week, the multi-time World Champion and his entire team was forced to enter quarantine after a positive test was returned for Covid ahead of Gent-Wevelgem. Officials made the decision to block the team from racing at Gent-Wevelgem, extending possibly beyond the Tour of Flanders.  

After a few stressful days for the team and a second round of tests that returned negative results, the Ministry of Sport in Belgium gave them the green light to race just hours ahead of the start at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.  

Sagan chose to skip Wednesday’s race but will be on the starting line for Flanders. He had contracted Coronavirus in early February, and just recently returned to racing. Despite not being at top form due to his recovery, he finished fourth at Milano-Sanremo, and later won stage 6 at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya amongst a top field of Grand Tour contenders. 

Sagan won the Tour of Flanders in 2016. He warned his form has not yet reached 100% but with his consistency and racing prowess, Sagan will always remain a favorite. 


Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos)

Giacomo Nizzolo celebrated his first Classics podium last week, finishing second behind Wout van Aert at Gent-Wevelgem. The European Champion is a versatile sprinter and becoming more of a threat in the one-day races. 

Nizzolo has been consistently improving with each race this spring. If he can survive the final cobbled climbs, he will be a threat in the final sprint.