Tremendous feat of Julian Alaphilippe. If in Imola he gave a great reason to consider him within the history of cycling, in Flanders he has made it clear. The Frenchman revalidates his rainbow jersey after escaping alone with less than 20 kilometers to go. Neither Wout Van Aert, nor Mathieu Van der Poel, nor Sonny Colbrelli faced the Deceuninck – QuickStep rider who wins a World Cup that he deserved after attacking four times. In the sprint of the group that tried to hunt him down, Dylan Van Baarle was silver and Michael Valgren came in third.
Because once the race was definitively selected, Alaphilippe tried several times to go solo. ‘Dartagnan’ was the hero that Belgium did not find at home, after Remco Evenepoel was the ‘X factor’ throughout the tour. Since Paolo Bettini the Baleno bow was not revalidated. The 29-year-old cyclist was the strongest, he dedicated the triumph to his newborn son and cried again like a small child remembering his father who died a year ago, celebrating his feat doing what he does best: running brave.
In the last of his blows, he had the collaboration of a Valentin Madouas who threw him towards the Olympus. Doubts invaded the group, although it was the forces that ended up making none of the favorites jump. In a group of favorites in which only Colbrelli tried, they were resigned because they were seeing the options for victory slip away. The courage of some second swords such as the Dutch and the Danish who were silver and bronze, accompanied by Jasper Stuyven and Neilson Powless, made them take the podium prize.
Spain, which had no chance of victory, participated in the most important movements of the race. Erviti entered Evenepoel’s first breakaway and García Cortina was the one who motivated Alaphilippe to provoke the great team. The young group that has motivated the clear change in the trend in national cycling has gained experience in this test with the hope that in the next editions there will be a reference that may be eligible for victory.
A race in which, of the more than 250 kilometers, there were practically 180 battles. All with one factor in common: Remco Evenepoel. The cyclist whom Eddy Merckx did not want as leader of the Belgian team because he was “very individual” was in charge of dynamiting the race several times and delivered the spoon 30 kilometers from the finish line after making the final escape from which the winner of the race. He worked for its leader, Wout Van Aert, but also to put on a real show.
First he did it with Primoz Roglic, who did not have great legs in the World Cup event to finally fight for the victory. He kept on the run from that moment leading the group and being the one who gave him the air. From behind Italy controlled the race trying to maintain an acceptable distance until the serious attacks arrived. And there would come the time of the other great protagonist of the day: Julian Alaphilippe.
‘Lou Lou’ dynamited the race, along with a brave Iván García Cortina who did not run with such luck, taking with him most of the favorites and who little by little configured the final escape by joining Evenepoel, who had several seconds swords to his wheel that would be important to put land in the middle with a platoon in which Joao Almeida tried and could not. When they came together, despite the fact that France, Italy and the Netherlands had three riders as well, it was the young Belgian who took it upon himself to be the man who would lead the selected breakaway until the last lap.