Alaphilippe: Mathieu van der Poel is a phenomenon

Julian Alaphilippe, Mathieu van der Poel and Tim Wellens on the Brabantse Pijl

Everyone is talking about Mathieu van der Poel , and Julian Alaphilippe is the latest to praise the young Dutchman, describing him as "a phenomenon". Alaphilippe has been the outstanding rider this season with eight victories, including Milan-San Remo, but Van der Poel, the 24-year-old cyclo-cross world champion, has stormed onto the road in his first spring classics campaign, with victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen and fourth place at the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem. The pair went head-to-head at Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, where Van der Poel left the more experienced Alaphilippe to win the sprint from the select four-man group. They will lock horns again at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. "I was happy for him," Alaphilippe said ahead of the Dutch Classic. "I do not know him personally, we have not ridden against one another much, but I have followed him a bit because I like cyclo-cross. ...

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