Wout van Aert says he ‘just wasn’t good enough’ in Tour of Flanders 2021 

The Belgian star followed the decisive attack but was eventually dropped on the Kwaremont 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert said he “wasn’t good enough in the end” as he finished sixth in the Tour of Flanders 2021.

The Belgian superstar was competitive throughout the brutal 254km of racing through Belgium, but eventually fell victim to a huge attack from Mathieu van der Poel on the Oude Kwaremont.

Despite putting in a spirited chase, Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert eventually dropped back to join a chasing group, sprinting to a top-10 finish. 

Speaking to Dutch broadcaster Sporza after the race, the 26-year-old said: “The second time around Kwaremont I already felt that I had no surplus. 

“I just wasn't good enough in the end. I continued to fight, but I was finished in the final.”

The decisive moment in the 2021 Tour of Flanders came when Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) attacked the leading group 26km from the finish and was followed by Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Van Aert. 

That trio extended their advantage over the chasers behind, when Van der Poel put in a huge attack on the final ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, which left Van Aert trailing as Asgreen was able to follow. 

The race came down to a two-rider sprint between Van der Poel and Asgreen, with the latter taking a surprise victory as Van der Poel’s legs gave way at the line. 

Van Aert said: “I thought ‘let it be over as soon as possible’, because it was no longer heartfelt. 

“Whether I am disappointed? Yes and no. There was no more to it and I didn't make any mistakes, but I had hoped for a better feeling. 

“This was the main goal of my spring. I just need to recover from this.” 

Van Aert missed out on the 2020 Tour of Flanders title by millimetres as he was beaten in a two-rider sprint by Van der Poel. 

>>> Kasper Asgreen: ‘I felt good so I decided to trust my sprint’ 

After winning Ghent-Wevelgem earlier this season, Van Aert’s next chance of  a one-day victory will be in Brabantse Pijl on April 14, followed by Amstel Gold Race on April 18.  

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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.