Van der Poel beats Van Aert at the Benidorm show
Van der Poel wins in Benidorm a spectacular duel with Van Aert that has been maintained until the end. A gift for the 15,000 fans who have been present at the first CX World Cup race on Spanish soil in the last 11 years. Iserbyt finished third and Sweek (fourth) took the general classification.
Van der Poel conquers Benidorm in a close duel with Van Aert
The race began with Van der Poel in first position in a start with a crash behind. Iserbyt, Pidcock, Kuhn, Adams, Sweek, Van der Haar and Van Aert were behind the Dutchman.
From the start Van der Poel set a high pace, but it was Pidcock who accelerated even more when he took over the lead. The World Champion opened up a gap: 3 seconds on Van der Poel and Kuhn and a few seconds more on the others.
The end of a fast first lap left Pidcock in first position with some margin with his pursuers. For his part, Felipe Orts crossed tenth, 13 seconds behind.
The British rider kept the distance, while Van Aert led a group formed by Iserbyt and Sweek to close the gap with Van der Poel and Kuhn. They all joined Pidcock on one of the asphalt sections.
Despite this, Pidcock's pace was forcing everyone to push hard. Iserbyt and Sweek gave up a few meters by the third lap of the race.
They all regrouped again as they passed through the sand. Pidcock continued to lead until Sweek took the first position. The overall leader again broke the head of the race into groups of two but was unable to get anyone off the pace.
Fourth lap. This time Van der Poel took the first place. The Dutchman accelerated after the passage through the sand and managed to open some gap with the rest. It was then that Van Aert went on the hunt for the Orange Beast.
The move left Iserbyt and Sweek behind, although they were able to rejoin soon after. Pidcock and Kuhn were 9 seconds behind, despite the good feeling the British rider had left at the beginning of the race.
Van der Poel continued to lead. As they started the fifth lap, Sweek fell back a little and Felipe Orts continued his good performance in eleventh position.
As he had done before, the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider took advantage of the passage through the sand to change the pace. The attack gave him a few seconds ahead of Van Aert and Iserbyt.
Shortly after, Van Aert was the only one who could resist the pace of Van der Poel. The Belgian reduced the gap to the leader until he crossed the finish line close to his wheel and it was already foreseen that the two would once again fight for the victory.
Van Aert took the lead at the same time that Iserbyt returned to the lead. Sweek and Pidcock were closing the gap and fighting to get back on top.
The seventh lap began with all five riders together at the same time as the camera showed Adams' crash on the planks. Van Aert accelerated on the asphalt to the annoyance of almost everyone, who gave up meters. Van der Poel held on and remained in second place.
Van der Poel slipped, but he controlled it without any problems before passing the finish line and starting the penultimate lap. The two cyclocross stars faced the final part of the race alone until a big Sweek caught them, moved into the lead and pushed for a few seconds advantage.
Last lap and everything was still to be decided. Iserbyt joined the group of three. Van Aert and Van der Poel were fighting for the lead, although it was the Belgian who was winning and pushing. Van der Poel took the lead with a big inside move just before the sand.
He pushed without managing to get rid of anyone. The four together on the asphalt. Van Aert was back in first place. And Van der Poel did the same and pushed a little more. Van Aert was still in the wake and everything seemed to indicate that we would have to wait until the end to know the outcome.
They reached the end together. Acceleration and sprint of the two. Van der Poel was ahead. The Dutchman managed to hold the first place and crossed the finish line before Van Aert to close the great duel he had maintained with the Belgian.
Van Empel wins and takes the overall in a hard-fought four-way race
Schreiber took the lead in a smooth start, with the favorites occupying the first places and Lucía González in eleventh place after starting from the second row.
Van Empel soon took the lead, although the large lead group was still together. Van Anrooij then took the lead to cross the finish line and close a first lap that went smoothly.
The calm stopped at the start of the second lap, when Van Anrooij pressed the pace and forced her rivals to do the same. Van Empel, Pieterse and Persico held off the Dutch rider, although the Italian gave up shortly after.
Pieterse took over the lead and the attacks began. Brand went to the ground and Pieterse slipped, which Van Empel took advantage of to open a small gap. However, the gap was narrow at the end of the second lap: just one second between Van Empel and Pieterse and three seconds between Van Anrooij and Persico.
The two chasers cut the gap with the two riders in front until they got back on their wheel. Moment of truce that ended with Pieterse and Van Empel opening a gap of 4 seconds and, although again towards the end of the lap they reconnected with the leaders, they gave up three seconds at the finish line.
Van Anrooij and Persico rejoined the lead, showing great strength. However, the feeling was that the two favorites were saving their strength to launch the final attack later on.
Even so, the four rode together during the fourth lap and started the fifth lap with a margin of 13 seconds over fourth-placed Worst. The steady pace did not allow any of the four to fall off the pace, which allowed them to enter the final stretch of the race with a very open outcome.
Pieterse attack in one of the asphalt area with which only managed to leave a few meters to Persico and Van Anrooij, while Van Empel did not yield. Both chasers were reluctant to give up the fight for victory and started the penultimate lap almost hooked back to the lead.
The two favorites pushed in what seemed now the attack with which they were going to leave behind the other two riders. But Van Anrooij again showed the great condition in which she is and came again in the wake of Pieterse and Van Empel.
The last lap started with the three leading the race and Persico just 2 seconds behind after the Italian champion's umpteenth return to the lead. The four together again.
Van Empel chose a stretch of asphalt to squeeze the most out of her legs. Pieterse remained on his wheel, Van Anrooij gave up a few meters already very difficult to recover and Persico, who was already a little behind, left even more meters.
Pieterse overtook Van Empel at the start of the final part of the lap. Van Empel hit back soon after and opened up a few meters on the Dutch champion to win her seventh CX World Cup of the season and become the overall champion of the competition.
Van Anrooij arrived at 13 seconds to take the last step of the podium, while Persico was fourth at 21 seconds in a very good race of both.