While the Tour de France commands international attention each year, the Cycling Monuments are the pillars of road cycling. Each of the five races boasts a tremendous amount of prestige, being among the oldest and most difficult one-day races in the world.
Each year, cyclists around the world gather to race the Milan-San Remo, Liége-Bastogne-Liége, Giro di Lombardia, Tour of Flanders, and the Paris-Roubaix. Two of these have already been contested this year, with another two just on the horizon. While the five contests regularly see five different winners, a rivalry of two cyclists looks to be headlining the upcoming Monument races.
Wout van Aert vs. Mathieu van der Poel
The next two Monuments on the slate are the Tour of Flanders on October 18 and Paris-Roubaix on October 25, both of which have two clear favorites. Anyone who wants to try betting on cycling will find that it’s the Wout van Aert vs. Mathieu van der Poel rivalry that’s expected to dominate the two meets, with Van Der Poel at +250 to win in Flanders and Van Aert at +260 to win Paris-Roubaix.
For the 2020 Tour of Flanders, Van Aert only trails Van Der Poel in the odds by a few points, coming in at +350, with the next highest-rated competitor being out at +900. Paris-Roubaix 2020 looks to be even more focused on this budding rivalry, with Van Der Poel the second-favorite at +350 and the next closest competitor, Mads Pedersen, being at +2200.
The two have a long history, representing Belgium and the Netherlands in world-class cycling competitions for years. This year, the rivalry spills into the Cycling Monuments. With two already contested, the Belgian, Van Aert, is one-up on Van Der Poel, having claimed the Milan-San Remo earlier this year. It marked Van Aert’s first Monument victory, and a 13th-place finish for his Dutch rival on debut.
A storied rivalry set for the ages
A mere nine months separate the ages of Van Aert and Van Der Poel, with them both still only 26 and 25 years old, respectively. Van Der Poel has been making a name for himself across cycling for the last five years, winning the Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2015, 2019, and 2020, the Tour of Britain in 2019, and the European XC Championships in mountain biking last year. Van Aert has an equally impressive CV, boasting Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018, three stages in two Tour de France showings, and the Danmark Rundt in 2018.
As you can see, for the last six editions, when the Belgian didn’t win the Cyclo-cross World Championships, his Belgium-born Dutch rival took the silverware. Van Aert rode for Jumbo-Visma in the Tour de France not long ago, seeing his teammate Primož Roglič remarkably come up short at the final hurdle. Van Der Poel, on the other hand, has had his sights fixed on the Monuments, with his objectives being to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Come the conclusion of Paris-Roubaix at the end of October, all of the classics will have named their 2020 victors, with bragging rights still up for grabs on either side of this enticing cycling rivalry.