Lance Armstrong tips Mathieu van der Poel to win Tour of Flanders 

In his latest podcast, Armstrong and his former sports director Johan Brunyeel make their picks for the cobbled Monument

Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong at the 2010 Tour de France (Tim De Waele/Getty)
(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Lance Armstrong has tipped Mathieu van der Poel to win the Tour of Flanders this weekend. 

Disgraced former rider Armstrong, a winner of seven Tours de France before he was banned from the sport for doping, has shared his thoughts on the upcoming cobbled Monument, alongside his former sports director Johan Bruyneel and ex-team-mate George Hincapie.

Speaking on the latest episode of his podcast (opens in new tab) THEMOVE (opens in new tab), Armstrong picked out Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) as his favourite to win a second consecutive title in Flanders. 

Armstrong, who has been banned from cycling for life and was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France victories for taking performance enhancing drugs, said: “[Van der Poel] knows what he's doing, I like the way he races.”

The trio recapped the events of Ghent-Wevelgem last weekend, won by Van der Poel’s great rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and looked ahead to the Tour of Flanders on Sunday (March 4).

Bruyneel, who has also been banned from cycling for life for his involvement in doping, said: “[Van Aert] and Van der Poel are so good. They ride one level higher than the rest. Van Aert won in Wevelgem and actually nobody doubted that it would go that way. 

“He was on the road with the best sprinters, but he rode smart.

“I think he would have beaten [Sam] Bennett - on paper among the three fastest sprinters in the world - if he hadn't suddenly seen the light go out.” 

But Bruyneel picked Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s Zdenek Štybar to take victory in the second Monument of the season this weekend, while Hincapie picked out world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

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Brunyeel said: “At Deceuninck - Quick-Step it is sometimes an advantage not to be the leader. 

“This year they already have 14 victories with different riders. After Ghent-Wevelgem they will not have been happy, in the Ronde the better ones will automatically emerge and they will be there. ”  

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.