Tour of Flanders 2024: Favourites

Van der Poel E3 - Tour of Flanders 2024: Favouritesfoto: Cor VosYou'll have a hard time finding a Flemish boy who doesn't dream of winning the Tour of Flanders. Such as Tim Wellens and Mathieu van der Poel, who is quasi-Flemish, as he was born and raised in the cycling hotbed. Is the 'Dutchman' going to pull off a third triumph in five years time?

Last year, ‘De Ronde’ was won by Tadej Pogacar. He attacked on Oude Kwaremont and while Van der Poel kept chasing at around 15 seconds, the rest of the field was distanced. Including Wout van Aert, who was eventually bested by Mads Pedersen in the sprint for third place.

Last Wednesday, Van Aert crashed hard in Dwars door Vlaanderen and suffered several fractures. So, he will not compete in De Ronde to challenge his eternal rival. And Pogacar is not here either, as he is aiming to win the Giro in May.

The High Mass of Flemish cycling is held on a route of 270.8 kilometres. Which is hard in itself, but the relentless onslaught of (cobbled) climbs really makes it into a war of attrition. Virtually all ‘hellingen’ are situated in the second half of the race, while the Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg combo presents the last obstacles inside the last 20 kilometres. After the Paterberg the last 13.3 kilometres are flat.

Obviously, the decisive move in the Tour of Flanders happens inside the last 50 kilometres. Philippe Gilbert tops the list of long-range attacks in the last decade. In 2017, the now retired Walloon rode alone for more than 50 kilometres before winning the race in heroic style. Other solo winners are Peter Sagan (2016, attack on the Paterberg), Niki Terpstra (2018, attacks on Kruisberg/Hotond), Alberto Bettiol (2019, attack on Oude Kwaremont), and Tadej Pogacar (2023, also from Oude Kwaremont).

The Flemish classics of this season were won by Jan Tratnik (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad), Wout van Aert (Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne), Jasper Philipsen (Brugge-De Panne), Matieu van der Poel (E3 Saxo Classic), Mads Pedersen (Gent-Wevelgem) and Matteo Jorgenson (Dwars door Vlaanderen), while Jasper Philipsen Milan-Sanremo) and Tadej Pogacar (Strade Bianche) were successful in the Italian Classics.

Favourites 2024 Tour of Flanders

***** Mathieu van der Poel
**** Matteo Jorgenson, Tim Wellens
*** Alberto Bettiol, Mads Pedersen, Oier Lazkano
** Stefan Küng, Tiesj Benoot, Dylan van Baarle, Valentin Madouas
* Dylan Teuns, Søren Kragh Andersen, Matej Mohoric, Toms Skujins

Watch the highlights of recent races here:
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