The first Pidcock vs Van der Poel takes place next Sunday
With Wout Van Aert still to join the cyclo-cross season, we will be able to open our mouths at the Hulst CX World Cup event, which will mark the start of the season for Mathieu Van der Poel, who is looking to return to dominate with an iron fist and leave behind the back problems that truncated last season in the mud.
Excitement at the Hulst CX World Cup
The great World Cup race we witnessed last weekend, with a huge Tom Pidcock coming from the depths of the grid, overcoming crashes and breakdowns to go head to head with current European Champion Michael Vanthourenhout was just a foretaste of what is to come this Sunday when Mathieu Van der Poel arrives on the Hulst CX World Cup circuit.
A race in which Mathieu Van der Poel will have to clear up doubts after suffering a series of back problems in the last cyclo-cross season that forced him to finish it early in order to recover well for the road campaign. In any case, he will have the handicap, as it is his first race of the year and he has no championship points, of starting at the back of the grid.
A problem that was not so much for Tom Pidcock, who after a modest debut in the Superprestige race last weekend, was very strong the following day on the muddy track of Overijse in a very tough race where the differences were remarkable.
Will we see a duel between the two? Hopefully, but as all cyclo-cross lovers know, this is a totally unpredictable discipline and it is contested at such an intensity that it is always open to surprises.
Apart from the expected clash between Tom Pidcock and Mathieu Van der Poel, the race in Hulst will allow us to see if Michael Vanthourenhout continues his ascending progression or if the so far dominating rider of the season, Eli Iserbyt, is able to recover his tone after several races in which he has been far from the top positions.
However, Wout Van Aert, who has delayed his debut for a week due to an inopportune flu that has affected his training routine, will not be in the competition, so we will have to wait until 4 December, in the race that will take place in Antwerp, to have all the cyclo-cross protagonists already on the move.
The World Cup, which is currently being held in Qatar, will also have an impact on cyclo-cross.
On Sunday, Belgium will play its second group stage match against Morocco at 14:00. This has forced to modify the usual timetables of the Cyclo-cross World Cup races, which on this occasion have been modified to avoid coincidence.
The Elite Women's race will take place at 11:00 in the morning while the Elite Men's race will start at 12:15. A race that, like the rest of the World Cup, you will be able to follow through Eurosport channel which, due to the time change, will only broadcast it through its digital platform Eurosport Player and its associated media GCN+.