Advantage Mathieu van der Poel in the next chapter of his eternal rivalry with Wout van Aert

The Dutchman timed his attack perfectly, to strike first in 2024 at the E3 Saxo Classic. Can Van Aert respond?

Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands, there's a painting titled 'Fishing for Souls' by Adriaen van de Venne, from 1614. It shows different religious denominations battling for believers in a river, the Protestants from the northern Netherlands on the left bank, and the Catholics from the south of the country on the right.

The Protestants, who would go onto form the Dutch Republic, look to be more successful at "fishing for souls" in this allegory, while the Catholics on the right, who would eventually become Belgium, are less fortunate. The rivalry between Belgium and the Netherlands is nothing new, it has been going on for four hundred years, ever since the reformation, and the Eighty Years' War between the Dutch Republic and Spain over the future of the Low Countries.

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Adam Becket
News editor

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s news editor – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing. He's usually out and about on the roads of Bristol and its surrounds. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.