'We are definitely one of the strongest teams out there': The two best friends aiming to deny Van der Poel and Van Aert in the Classics

Former world champion Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven are preparing to frustrate the sport's two headline figures in the Classics

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It feels, even three weeks out from the start of the Spring Classics, that the narrative for the cobbled and Ardennes races has already been inscribed: Mathieu van der Poel versus Wout van Aert.

But there’s two riders in particular – best of friends Jasper Stuyen and Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo - who aren’t prepared to let the annals portray the 2021 Classics season as a two-up head-to-head between the two cyclocross sensations.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and feature writing across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in a number of places, but mostly in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.

He lives in Valencia, Spain.