Adrie van der Poel: Flanders is in Mathieu's top-3 all-time victories

Dutchman's father says the absence of Wout van Aert only made the victory more impressive

Clock12:20, Tuesday 2nd April 2024
Mathieu van der Poel celebrates in style after winning his third Tour of Flanders

© Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel celebrates in style after winning his third Tour of Flanders

Ranking Mathieu van der Poel’s victories in order of their greatness is no easy task, especially when they span several disciplines, a couple of decades, and some of the most memorable moments in men’s cycling history, but his father Adrie is probably one of the best-placed people to at least give it a go.

The rider’s father has been present and accounted for during most of his son’s wins, and on Sunday, in a rain-soaked Oudenaarde, the former pro was on the scene once more as his world champion son kicked clear on the Koppenberg to win his third Tour of Flanders.

It might not have been Van der Poel’s most dominant victory of the 29-year-old’s career but Van der Poel senior certainly ranked it within the top-three.

“The pressure is something that he’s used to. Today there was a lot of pressure on his team because they were the only ones pulling at the start and it was a hard day," Adrie told GCN at the finish.

For some, the absence of Wout van Aert due to injury might have taken some of the gloss of Van der Poel’s victory but his father painted a different picture. 

“I think it’s in the top three, for me. For the Tour of Flanders, it’s his best one," Adrie said.

"When you arrive alone and know that at the start it’s going to be a hard day because you’re the only one… sometimes it’s easier when there are others, like with Wout van Aert not here.

"Sometimes it’s better when the other leaders are at the start, so this is a very special victory.”

According to Adrie van der Poel, his son’s win at the UCI Road World Championships in Glasgow in 2023 is the best victory so far, followed by last year’s victory in Paris-Roubaix. Amstel Gold Race in 2019 was in contention for the third spot but has now been usurped by Sunday’s exploits.

“Worlds, and then for me Paris-Roubaix and then this one," he said.

"Today he made the right decision to wait and then go all-in on the Koppenberg. It’s a climb that’s special in this sort of weather, and at the top, he had a few seconds on [Matteo] Jorgenson but the third rider was already 30 seconds down.”

Next up for Mathieu van der Poel is Paris–Roubaix, where he will look to defend the crown he won in 2023. Whether such a victory can break into the newly-formed top-three remains to be seen but Adrie will be there on the sidelines to witness the outcome no matter what.

For more of the latest racing updates, visit the race news page.

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