Asgreen wins Tour of Flanders as Van der Poel cracks

Oudenaarde (Belgium) (AFP) –


Denmark's Kasper Asgreen won the Tour of Flanders cycling classic on Sunday when Mathieu van der Poel cracked just 50 metres from the line.

The 254km race over 19 cobbled hills ended in a two-way struggle between the pair, and as the final dash intensified the Dutchman had nothing left in the tank.

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet came third.

It was a dramatic meltdown for Van der Poel as the Alpecin rider just seemed to give up realising Asgreen, who was second here in 2019 too, had more strength left.

The race blew open 26km from home when Asgreen's team Quick-Step was influential in catching the day's escape group that had led by 13 mins.

Van der Poel and his great rival Wout van Aert were in the new elite group that powered ahead before Van der Poel launched a powerful assault with 12km to go and only Asgreen was able to follow.

One rider Michael Schaer was thrown out fo the race for throwing away a water bottle under new littering rules.

Two others were thrown off in a crackdown on violent riding with Otto Vergaerde and Yevgeniy Fedorov expelled early in the race for dangerous riding after a clash of shoulders.