He was already 6th in 2020 after going solo in Benelux Tour the day before. He even said afterwards it was a mistake to not follow Mohoric in the descent. I still hope they will anounce him next week for Liege, wanna see what he can do in this form to get a good view if he can win (with Pogi and Remco). I'm optimistic for Liege.
The Sormano will always be a little to long against the climbers. It should all fall in to place for him to contest for the win.
Exactly, in 2020 Van der Poel showed that he can win Liège although in hindsight it could have been a missed opportunity because I don't think he can hold on to Pogačar and Remco nowadays, if they are close to their best
As for Lombardia, I think its clearly more difficult even without Sormano, the Civiglio is still a hard 14-15 minute climb where he will lose simply too much time to Pogačar, Remco or even other climbers.
Still, I think a lot of what will happen until the end of Van der Poel's career will depend on what he prioritises. He can chase more wins at RVV and Roubaix which will likely bring him to a Bonnen/Cancellara level in those races , he can chase the 5 monuments which is in my opinion a more risky path as the probably of 'failure' is higher (but the reward is also higher) or he can also likes Axel pointed out, focus in winning Worlds or Olympic titles in several disciplines of cycling which could also include gravel besides the three mentioned.