Pidcock, Van Aert and Van der Poel at the Exact Cross Mol today
The three biggest names in cyclocross will face each other this afternoon at the EXACT CROSS in Mol. Pidcock, Van Aert and Van der Poel will meet in the mud for the second time this season on a course marked by long sandy sections and the possibility of rain during the race.
Where and when to watch the EXACT CROSS at Mol 2022
Today, December 23rd, the fifth EXACT CROSS race of the year takes place in the Belgian town of Mol. Tickets are now only available at the box office at a price of 15 euros.
Friday December 23rd
- Elite women's race at 16:15
- Elite men's race at 17:30
Where to watch Mol's EXACT CROSS
The race will be available to watch on the Eurosport app.
The Mol sand will be the battleground for the top three cyclocross riders
Pidcock, Van Aert and Van der Poel will share the mud this afternoon in Mol, a circumstance that has only happened so far this season at the CX World Cup in Antwerp.
The three cyclocross stars will have to face a course that combines very fast sections with several long sandy sections. Generally speaking, the course is not particularly technical, but the power and skill required to overcome the sandy sections is essential.
According to weather forecasts, rain is very likely to fall on Mol during the morning and will continue to do so during the race. This could make the passage through the sand less technical. However, the rain could also muddy the area that requires the most care: a series of short but steep climbs and downhills with very sharp bends.
Van der Poel is looking to redeem himself after the CX World Cup in Val di Sole, where he didn't take risks for fear of crashing and finished eighth. Away from the Alpine snow and ice, expect the best version of the Orange Beast in a place where he already knows victory, as he topped the podium in Mol in 2019 and 2016.
Van Aert is more prepared than the only time they met, in Antwerp. On this occasion, he will be looking to repeat the victory he achieved in 2021 on a course similar to the one he will race today. For his part, Pidcock returns after a 12-day break in which he has been preparing to be in top form for the busy cyclocross calendar over the Christmas period.
Lucinda Brand's return takes the spotlight in women's race
Experienced Dutch rider Lucinda Brand is back on the track. The right hand fracture she suffered in Tabor at the end of October during the World Cup is behind her. After spending the first weeks of December in Spain for training, she is back in competition to try to get back to her best, with her sights set on the World Championships.
Van Anrooij is the favourite to win the race in the absence of the season's top riders, Van Empel and Pieterse.