Mathieu van der Poel: ‘I started a good sprint, but immediately felt the legs were rough’  

The 2020 Tour of Flanders champion missed out on victory to Kasper Asgreen

(Image credit: BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel said he started his sprint well in the final of the Tour of Flanders 2021, but quickly realised he didn’t have the strength to beat Kasper Asgreen.

Van der Poel, winner of the 2020 edition of the cobbled Monument, looked to be the favourite to win this year’s race into the final kilometre, as he faced a two-rider sprint with Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s Asgreen. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for 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.