Tour of Flanders 2021

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Kasper Asgreen (Elegant-Quickstep) took an upset victory over defending champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in the 2021 Tour of Flanders

Kasper Asgreen (Elegant-Quickstep) took an upset victory over defending champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in the 2021 Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Kasper Asgreen takes upset Tour of Flanders victory over Van der Poel

Tour of Flanders date: Sunday April 4, 2021
Distance: 267km
Start: Antwerp, Belgium - 9:45 CET
Finish: Oudenaarde, Belgium - 15:45 CET

After an impressive solo victory in Gent-Wevelgem, Danish champion Kasper Asgreen showed his previous week's performance was no fluke by out-sprinting defending champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) to win the Tour of Flanders.

Racing under the temporary sponsor banner Elegant-Quickstep, Asgreen launched an attack from an elite leading group after the Kruisberg with 27km to go and pulled away last year's top two - Van der Poel and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

With world champion Julian Alaphilippe struggling behind, Asgreen worked with the pair to pull away. On the Oude Kwaremont, Van der Poel surged and dropped Van Aert but could not dislodge the canny Dane.

Now just two in the front, Asgreen and Van der Poel cooperated through to the finish but although Asgreen opened up the sprint and Van der Poel drew briefly alongside, the Danish rider had enough strength to crack his Dutch rival and claim the first Monument of his career.

Tour of Flanders history

Call it the Tour of Flanders, the Ronde van Vlaanderen or 'De Ronde' for short, Tour des Flandres, Giro delle Fiandre, or Flandern Rundfahrt, the Vlaanderens Mooiste is the pinnacle of one-day racing in Belgium. The race had its first edition in 1913, the brainchild of Sportwereld's Léon van den Haute to reinvigorate cycling in Belgium and provide the Flemish people with an event entirely within their region.

The Tour of Flanders was interrupted by World War I but when it returned, its popularity exploded with the distance and terrible roads combining to create a punishing and triumphant challenge.

In the 1970s the finish was moved to Meerbeke and the finale incorporated the Muur van Geraardsbergen, or Kapelmuur after the small chapel at its summit, and later added the ultra-steep, cobbled Koppenberg as a key feature on the parcours.

The formula was changed in 2012 to create a more spectator-friendly circuit around a finish in Oudenaarde that puts the crux moments on the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg cobbled climbs.

The cobbled Classics draw to a possible close – depending on Paris-Roubaix's rescheduling – on April 4 with the Tour of Flanders, the biggest race in Belgium.

In 2020, the race was postponed to October because of the COVID-19 pandemic and shortened to 243km. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) triumphed after beating his eternal rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to the line. The pair will be back on Sunday, along with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who crashed out of the winning move after hitting a race moto.

The race returned to April in 2021 and was 254.3km in length.

Tour of Flanders key climbs

  • Katteberg
  • Oude Kwaremont
  • Kortekeer
  • Eikenberg
  • Wolvenberg
  • Molenberg
  • Marlboroughstraat
  • Berendries
  • Valkenberg
  • Berg ten Houte
  • Kanaarieberg
  • Oude Kwaremont
  • Paterberg
  • Koppenberg
  • Steenbeekdries
  • Taaienberg
  • Kruisberg/Hotond
  • Oude Kwaremont
  • Paterberg

Tour of Flanders most successful riders

  • Achiel Buysse (1940, 1941, 1943)
  • Fiorenzo Magni (1949, 1950, 1951)
  • Eric Leman (1970, 1972, 1973)
  • Johan Museeuw (1993, 1995, 1998)
  • Tom Boonen (2005, 2006, 2012)
  • Fabian Cancellara (2010, 2013, 2014)

Tour of Flanders 2021 teams

  • AG2R-Citroën
  • Astana-Premier Tech
  • Bahrain Victorious
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Cofidis
  • Deceuninck-QuickStep
  • EF Education-Nippo
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux
  • Israel Start-Up Nation
  • Jumbo-Visma
  • Lotto Soudal
  • Movistar
  • Qhubeka Assos
  • Team BikeExchange
  • Team DSM
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • UAE Team Emirates
  • Alpecin-Fenix
  • Arkéa Samsic
  • Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
  • Total Direct Energie

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