Tour of Flanders 2022 preview

March 21, 2022

Kasper Asgreen wins Tour of Flanders 2021

Kasper Asgreen wins Tour of Flanders 2021. Photo by ProCyclingStats.

The Flemish festival of cycling always reaches its peak with a Tour of Flanders.This year’s 106h edition of this iconic race will be played out on April 3rd with its short, sharp and often cobbled climbs it makes an emblematic and grueling race. The riders will leave from Antwerp and will embark on a 275.5km journey across the roads that every diehard cycling fan is so romantically aware of.

Kasper Asgreen of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team is a defending champion, after beating Mathieu van der Poel on a line in the last edition of this race. Belgian riders managed to secure 3-7 in their home country, while Turgis, Sénéchal and Dylan van Baarle rounded up the Top10.

What does this great race have to offer in 2022? After two restricted editions, the Belgians are ready to throw themselves into a cycling frenzy, as Ronde van Vlaanderen will be back in its full glory- in front of roaring crowds. Let’s look at the route, contenders and make some predictions.

The Route

This year riders will tackle a 275.5km course with 18, often cobbled, climbs. This year’s edition will kick off in Antwerp and will allow riders to slowly settle in as the first challenge of cobbles will come only after about 100 kilometers of racing. Although these are two simple pavé sections, it will be a great warmup before the real challenge. Once half of the race is completed, contenders will be greeted by Oude Kwaremont and after that the real racing starts, because a new obstacle, testing riders wills and legs, will appear every 10 kilometers or so.

The Tour of Flanders will really take off when the riders tackle the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg combo. This is an exciting phase with Koppenberg, the cobbles Mariaborrestraat, Steenbeekdries and Taaienberg in rapid succession.

Last 30 to 13 kilometers is the final chance to make race winning moves with Kruisberg, Hotond and then Oude Kwaremont will make its final appearance in this year’s edition of a race. In four of the last five editions of Tour of Flanders, the winning attack has been launched from the Oude Kwaremont.

Last 13 kilometers will remain flat and those, who managed to stay in the leading group, will start to contemplate their preferred plan of action. Sprinters will sit in and hope they can recuperate for the final dash to the line, while more diesel engine riders will probably try to snap the elastic and drop those that can outsprint them.

Alberto Bettiol wins 2019 Tour of Flanders

Alberto Bettiol wins 2019 Tour of Flanders. Photo by Yuzuru SUNADA.

Top Contenders

Every year it is getting harder and harder to pick candidates for any top of races. Clear line between classic, GC or any other kind of athletes is becoming more and more blurred. Nonetheless we will look into top teams making it to the start line and go over leaders and their domestiques.

Bahrain - Victorious

Over the years, Bahrain - Victorious has proven to be one of the strongest teams in one day races. This year at De Ronde will be no different. With Milan-Sanremo’s winner Matej Mohoric, 2021 Paris-Roubaix winner Sonny Colbrelli, Heinrich Haussler, a one day races specialist, who has more experience in these type of races, that anyone in professional peloton, you have to admit, that they will be one of the top dogs on the start line. My prediction is that Bahrain - Victorious will have 2 designated leaders and will act according to race situation. Matej Mohoric will try to send it earlier and make an elastic snap, while Colbrelli, a strong sprinter will be a card to play if it gets down to a sprint. De Ronde usually ends up in a reduced sprint, so we should expect to see Mohoric helping Colbrelli unless he blows up early.

UAE Team Emirates

UAE Team Emirates is planning to bring all the big guns to this year’s edition of De Ronde. A complete prodigy, Tadej Pogacar, will probably be a designated leader, although I am not sure about his capability to win such a race. In Milan-Sanremo we had seen him go on attacks multiple times on Pogio climb, but to no avail. Tour of Flanders will offer similar short and steep climbs that are more suited to punchers instead of pure climbers, but you can never know with Pogacar. Although he would not be able to ride away, he is still a competitive sprinter if he gets himself over those nasty pinches.

But this team is not only about Pogacar, Trentin, a one day races specialist, will be on the start line as well, along with Alessandro Covi, who is proving himself worthy in 2022 and of course, Fernando Gaviria. Although he is not my favorite person in the world, given his temperament and aggressiveness when sprinting, you cannot rule him out- he is great at his job.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team

A team which won 3 out of 5 past editions of De Ronde, moreover a defending champion’s team, which will do its best to be a back-to-back winner since Fabian Cancellara in 2013 and 2014. Kasper Asgreen, a dedicated leader, will be accompanied by classics’ specialists Florian Sénéchal, Zdeněk Štybar and Yves Lampaert. Davide Ballerini, although might lack experience in such races, is a strongly built rider who will definitely make a positive impact on Asgreen’s performance. We will see them fighting for the highest steps on the podium until the last man, so expect to see a lot of blue-white jerseys on your TV screen.

INEOS Grenadiers

With their improved squad for the classics, Ineos Grenadiers will probably ride for Thomas Pidcock, who is a top CX rider, and Ethan Hayter. Although they are not that visible during the classics, this year might prove to be different, so expect to see Ineos Grenadiers jerseys in the leading group. With domestiques, such as Luke Rowe, you can be sure that designated leaders will be put in the best place possible.

Trek - Segafredo

As usual, Trek - Sagafredo invests a lot in one day races, especially monuments such as De Ronde. With Quinn Simmons, who is on a stellar form, as we saw in Tirreno-Adriatico this year, a new sign up Markus Hoelgaard from Uno-X Pro Cycling team and Edward Theuns, team leaders will definitely be up there with top dogs. Jasper Stuyven, who never won Ronde van Vlaanderen, but came close to it on multiple occasions, and ex-World Champion Mads Pedersen, will give their best shot at taking the title. Trek - Segafredo usually does consistently well in these types of races, so keep an eye on them, 106th edition might be a lucky one for them.


Is there a need to introduce this team? A race winning machine, that will be led by Wout van Aert. In the squad we also have a Tour of Flanders specialist Tiesj Benoot, Tosh Van der Sande, Christophe Laporte, who is on top form in 2022, Mike Teunissen. Wout van Aert lost out to Mathieu van der Poel in the final sprint in 2020 and will try to make up for it, but there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders, as De Ronde is his native race with a lot of eyes from the media and hopes from Belgians.


A UCI ProTeam, which will ride for the one and only Mathieu van der Poel. Although he proves time and time again, that he can do well on his own, he will be accompanied and helped by strong domestiques, such as Gianni Vermeersch, Jonas Rickaert, Michael Gogl and Jasper Philipsen, who might have a go himself, if stars align correctly for him (or incorrectly for van der Poel). Mathieu van der Poel rode De Ronde 3 times and his worst performance is 4th, while he managed to win it in spectacular form back in 2020. Although a back injury has sidelined him for a significant stretch at the beginning of the 2022 season, we have seen him performing well in this year’s Milan-Sanremo.

Tom Boonen in Belgium Champs Jersey on the Mur du Grammont

Tom Boonen in Belgium Champs Jersey on the Mur du Grammont. Photo by CyclingTips.

Honorable mentions

Alberto Bettiol, a 2019 De Ronde winner, will once again make it to the finish line with a hope to bring victory for the EF Education-EasyPost team. Although it is hard to judge his form in 2022, we should expect him to give his all in this race. Nils Politt, a strongly built German riding for BORA - hansgrohe, is always a threat in spring classics. He maintains consistently good results in these types of races over the years and with a bit of luck he might just snatch it from under favorites’ noses. Greg Van Avermaet, the most decorated classics rider in today’s peloton, will compete in his 15th Tour of Flanders. Although he might not be on the same level as younger athletes, he has knowledge and well polished strategy which he diligently follows under any type of stress. Victor Campenaerts, who reinvented himself as a Classics rider and has fallen in love with cycling again, will give a second shot at RVV. He might lack experience in these types of races, but does extremely well in classics so far. Alexander Kristoff, riding for Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, is a classics veteran that you can never rule out. He has great support from his team, knowledge and strength to make a leading group. Anthony Turgis, of TotalEnergies, has had a great season so far, finishing 2nd in Milan-Sanremo. It will be his 4th crack at RVV where he finished 8th last year.


It has been 5 years since the last Belgian winner at De Ronde, so it would only be fair for a local to snatch that victory. Although Wout van Aert is a favorite, I feel like Victor Campenaerts, given his form, might be the “underdog” who can surprise the cycling world. His determination and ability to suffer astonishes me and I know that he will keep on fighting until the end.


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