Why was there a mysterious smiley on Mathieu van der Poel’s stem?

Mathieu van der Poel took an incredible victory at the Tour of Flanders, timing his sprint to perfection. MvdP made his way into the final 300 meters of the race on Sunday, edging out the two pursuers who had caught him and Tadej Pogačar in a nail-biting finish.

Following the game of cat and mouse between the Dutchman and the Slovenian in the last kilometer, Pogačar was excluded from the podium.

Pogačar shouted something fierce at van Baarle after his disaster in Flanders

The Slovenian tried to drop the Dutchman last time out on the Koppenberg but couldn’t. Then it was only a matter of time before MdvP took over the race, with his incredible sprint power.

You will often see ratings on the stems of professional cyclists. Often this is the route, informing the rider of important climbs or sections. On Sunday, MvdP had a nutrition guide taped to its upper. As you can see, the runner takes solid foods at the start of the run and then switches to gels. On the stem you can see what appear to be symbols for water or food for each part of the race. But at 200km there was a smiley face, and Cycling Twitter racks its brains trying to figure out what it means.

Many thought it could refer to caffeine, to give him a boost for the last 70 kilometres. Of course, the only person who knows the answer is MdvP and his team.

YouTuber Jesse Coyle takes a deep dive into the food guide below.

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