Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has shared an insight into the effort it takes to finish second at the Tour of Flanders. The Dutch champion, who lost out in a two-up sprint with Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), has uploaded his power data from the season’s second monument onto Strava.
Van der Poel was joint quickest with Asgreen up the Oude Kwaremont, where the pair dropped the other favorites, averaging 483 watts and hitting a maximum of 794 watts. Across the 254-kilometer route, the 26-year-old held an average speed of 41.8km/h and maxed out at a brisk 82.7km/h – no doubt on one of the twisting descents.
“For me, the legs were a bit off in the end, so I’m quite disappointed but I think I lost to a stronger guy today so that makes it easier to accept,” van der Poel said after Sunday’s race.
“I think we did a really good race, but in the end, there was one guy stronger. I already noticed on the hills that he was one of the strongest guys. When I attacked it was always him who was fastest to follow.”
Roglič rakes in the leader’s jerseys
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) added to his impressive collection of leader’s jerseys after beating Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) by two seconds to win the Itzulia Basque Country opening time trial. The Slovenian has now held the overall race lead at 13 consecutive stage races.
The 2018 Tour de France was the last time Roglič completed a multi-day race and came home without a leader’s jersey to show for it. Whether he can hold it until the end and avoid a last-day mishap, such as the one he endured at Paris-Nice, remains to be seen.
“It’s always special and beautiful when you win. It was a very good day for us,” Roglič said of his ride. “The time trial here is always tough and I like to race in the Basque Country. The course was a nice challenge with a mix of climbs, descents, fast turns, and a steep wall at the end.
“It is a great start for us, but we will have a tough week ahead of us. The field here is really strong and the next stages are going to be very tough.”
Julien Vermote finds pro contract at last
Three months after his contract with Cofidis came to an end, Julien Vermote has finally secured a spot on another team. The 31-year-old has told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he will ride with Alpecin-Fenix team until the end of the year with an option to extend for another season.
Vermote is an experienced racer after turning professional in 2011 with Quick-Step. He has refused to give up on his career since leaving Cofidis, buying his bike from the French squad and dipping into his own pocket to do winter training camps.
“I am happy that I can finally get back to work,” Vermote told Het Niewsblad. “It took a long time, but I have always had high hopes.”
“Of course, I will miss some racing kilometers at the beginning, but I remain very ambitious and want to continue to prove myself in the peloton and Alpecin-Fenix is also an ambitious team. A perfect match.”