W.What is happening on the street? There are hundreds of high-level professional cyclists who are prepared for this Italy spin, the Tour de France, the World Championship, to the great and monumental spring races such as the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. They all have the best equipment, many are organized into highly professional teams made up of specialists, captains and assistants. But then, on the tracks, there are individual drivers who make the big spring races boring, for one reason only: because they are too strong, too fast.

At the beginning of the Tour de France, the giants of the country road were called the unlucky ones who struggled through the steepest passes of the Alps and the Pyrenees on the most primitive bicycles. The giants are back, in modern form, and people are looking for explanations.

lonely class

How can it be that the Dutch road and cross country world champion, Mathieu van der Poelwithin a week the tour of flanders And he wins Paris-Roubaix, once traveling only the last 40 kilometers and the other time 60 kilometers?

Or that the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who has set the goal of winning the Giro and the Tour this year, wins the Italian classic Strade Bianche with an 80-kilometer solo race. The Dane Jonas Vingegaard and the Belgian Remco Evenepoel, both currently injured, are also riders who can dominate the races at will.

As long as they don't compete against each other, as long as they stay away from each other in one-day races in the spring, the competition and excitement will fall by the wayside. Using van der Poel's example, the reasons can be explored. Are your services legitimate? Could it be that one driver is much stronger than the others in the toughest one-day races?

“It's definitely not normal,” van der Poel said after his win in Roubaix. He is now a six-time cross country champion, world road champion and king of the classics. The competition is still amazed, but no one wants to put it in the dirty corner of illegal aid.

It is something very special to drive in the same generation as Van der Poel, who won Flanders and Roubaix in the world champion's jersey, says Sam Welsford of the German team Bora-hansgrohe. “I hope one day we mortals can follow him.” Competitors accept Van der Poel's solitary class. They look at him like everyone else: amazed, bewildered, maybe a little incredulous.

The Belgian classics season ends on April 21 with the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race. There, finally, boredom could come to an end. Not because the competition has great possibilities, but because there could be a confrontation between two stars. The race is on the Pogacar racing calendar and Van der Poel also seems inclined to want to be on the winners' list.

So far, a sixth place finish in 2020 is his best position. With a victory, he would have won the fourth of cycling's five monuments after Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders (three times) and Paris-Roubaix (twice). The only thing missing was the Lombardy tour, which Pogacar has already won three times.


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