During the last days of 2020, our presenters look back on the past sports year. Catherine Van Eylen opts for the thriller in the Tour of Flanders. “The dream finale we were all looking forward to,” she says.
Packing time: Catherine Van Eylen gives a present to Aster Nzeyimana
“Suddenly Alaphilippe was there so vulnerable”
Sunday, October 18, 2020: the Tour of Flanders will take place in the autumn this year. The eternal rivals Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel serve you a nail biter. Only after the photo finish do they know who wins.
“It was a very exciting and beautiful sprint”, Catherine Van Eylen recalls. “Top sport at its best.”
On the way to the finish in Oudenaarde, a pawn fell away and not just any one: Julian Alaphilippe. The world champion had collided with a motorcycle. “It was drama”, says our news anchor. “I immediately sympathized with that boy. He radiated so much power and suddenly he lay on the ground like a vulnerable bird.”
I thought it was “moving”. “Because how many chances do you get to win the Tour of Flanders as world champion? Maybe never again.”
“Mathieu van der Poel’s perfect sprint”
The race knows no mercy: Julian Alaphilippe did not get a second chance, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel went to the finish line together.
“The day before, I had pushed Van der Poel forward as the top favorite”, Catherine Van Eylen continues. “And he fulfilled his role with the perfect sprint. First Van der Poel cut the pace, then the Dutchman started to surplac and eventually he played out his explosiveness.”
“That was the only way to win the Tour of Flanders. Otherwise he would always have lost to Wout van Aert”, says Van Eylen.
“It was the dream final we had all been looking forward to. A battle between two boys who we saw growing up in cyclocross. Just like Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin in tennis.”
Mathieu van der Poel had always lost to Wout van Aert with a different sprint tactic.
Aster Nzeyimana: “That scream after the finish!”
“I got the same feeling as 4 years ago when Greg Van Avermaet drove to Olympic gold. Even now the tension rose at the top of the sports editors.”
After the finish it approached boiling point. Who had won the sprint?
Aster Nzeyimana: “What a picture that was! That primal scream of Mathieu van der Poel when he was finally declared the winner.”