Mathieu van der Poel started Dwars door Vlaanderen 2021 as the defending champion but he looked a ghost of his normal self and in the final he limited himself to working for Tim Merlier.
“No, I didn’t play hide and seek. I didn’t have the legs. But I don’t draw any conclusions from that for the Tour of Flanders”, said the Dutchman after the race.
“I felt it quite early. It didn’t work well in the beginning. It really wasn’t my day. Whether it was the heat? That could be. I don’t like that. In any case, I have eat and drink enough. That was not the problem. ”
“Today I put some money in the parking meter,” he laughed. “But I was certainly not alone. Julian Alaphilippe also came to tell me on the way that he was not worth a penny. I could not suffer either. I already knew it on the Hotond. There I had to quickly fall back at my own pace. Better today than Sunday, I think.”
“In the final I did my best to help Tim Merlier. Nice that he still sprints to the podium. But why would my underachievement today be a precursor to Sunday? Look at Van Aert. He was also not top in E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but then you see him convincingly winning Gent-Wevelgem two days later. It will also be less warm on Sunday than today. ”