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

The sticker was at 70 km to go

Photo by: Zach Nehr @zachnehr

Mathieu van der Poel had an incredible victory at the Tour of Flanders, timing his sprint to perfection. MvdP made his move in the final 300 metres of the race on Sunday, outsprinting the two chasers that had caught up with him and Tadej Pogačar in a nail biter of a finish.

As a result of the cat and mouse games between the Dutchman and Slovenian in the final kilometre, Pogačar was shut out of the podium.

Pogačar screamed something fierce at van Baarle after his Flanders disaster

The Slovenian did try and drop the Dutchman on the final time up the Koppenberg, but couldn’t. Then, it was only a matter of time before MdvP would take the race, with his incredible sprinting power.

You’ll often see notes on professional cyclists’ stems. Often times it is the about the course, letting the rider know about climbs or important sections. On Sunday, MvdP had a nutritional guide taped on his stem. As you can see, the rider takes solid food early on in the race, then moving on to gels. On the stem you can see what appears to be symbols for water, or food at each part of the race. But at 200 km, there was a smiley face, and Cycling Twitter is wracking its brains trying to figure what it means.

Many thought it could refer to caffeine, to give him the boost for the final 70 km. Of course, the only person that knows the answer to this is MdvP and his team.

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