Van der Poel takes the CX World Cup in Antwerp with a great victory
Mathieu Van der Poel's great performance at the CX World Cup in Antwerp. The Dutch rider has dominated from start to finish and has left without options to any rival. Today Van der Poel has eclipsed the return of Van Aert, who has signed a good second position after many months without riding in the mud, but perhaps too far away -23 seconds- from the victory.
Pidcock was the other big name of the day. He was in high morale after yesterday's victory in the Superprestige CX in Boom, but a bad start relegated him to 22nd place. Despite coming back up to eighth place, he didn't have the pace to fight for the top places.
Master of Antwerp: Van der Poel had no rival
The race began with a great start by Van Aert, who quickly took the lead. Several riders -including Van der Poel- kept up with the Belgian's initial pace. Still on the first lap Van der Poel and Van der Haar stuck to Van Aert's wheel while the others were just behind with only a small gap between them.
Van der Haar took the lead of the race, but Van der Poel overtook him at the start of the second lap. At that point the Dutch rider put on a pace that none of his rivals were able to compete with. The gap was gradually getting bigger and bigger, at the same time as Van Aert also dropped Van der Haar.
It remained to be seen whether Van der Poel would be able to hold on with such consistency for all the laps. Van Aert is always Van Aert and, although it was his return, it could not be excluded that he would catch the orange beast in the final moments. Behind, Pidcock recovered positions, but at a speed that suggested that the British rider would not be in the fight for the victory today.
But Van der Poel did not let up. With flawless riding, the minutes went by without a hint of fatigue appearing. The gap was already 6 seconds by the middle of the second lap, 12 at the start of the third and 27 on the sixth lap.
The penultimate lap was marked by Van Aert's crash, who lost little time, changed bikes and pulled out all the stops to cut the gap to Van der Poel from 32 seconds to the final 23 seconds. By then, though, with a lap and a half to go, Van der Poel knew he just needed to ride mistake-free to take the win.
Vanthourenhout signed a very good third position, after resisting the final attacks of Sweeck, who intimidated to take the third step of the podium. Van der Haar was finally fifth and Iserbyt won his particular game to Pidcock, who did not have his day.
Cyclocross World Cup Antwerp- Elite Men
- Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 59’04’’
- Wout Van Aert +23"
- Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +34"
- Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads) +45’’
- Lars Van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) +54"
- Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +1'05’’
- Jens Adams 1'09"
- Thomas Pidcock 1'14"
- Niels Vandepute 1'45"
- Joran Wyseure 2'05"
Cyclo-cross World Cup General Classification
- Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads) 236 points
- Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 230 points
- Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 204 points
- Lars Van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) 183 points
- Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 139 points
- Jens Adams (Chocovit Cycling Team) 108 points
- Toon Vandebosch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 98 points
- Kevin Kuhn (Tormans Cyclo Cross Team) 94 points
- Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 80 points
- Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions) 79 points
Van Empel wins the duel against Pieterse and takes the victory
Van Empel and Pieterse from the Netherlands have once again shown that they are several steps ahead of the rest of the competitors. A superiority that made it impossible for any rider to keep up with them even in the early stages of the race.
Right at the start of the race, both stars opened a small gap to their pursuers. Behind, Van Anrooij was in third place, while she also managed to narrowly pull away from the rest of the riders. But still on the first lap Van Androoij made a mistake while taking a sandy corner, went to the ground - she also had to straighten her handlebars - and was caught by the group behind.
By the start of the second lap Van Androoij had opened up a gap on the group again, but was already 10 seconds behind the two in front. Pieterse led the race with Van Empel, who had to face the small gaps opened by her rival and the setback of a mistake in the sand that made her lose 5 seconds.
But when Pieterse opened a gap, Van Empel quickly closed it. That response could indicate that Van Empel did indeed have a bit more pace in reserve. And so it was. It took until the third lap for Van Empel to push hard and leave Pieterse 7 seconds behind on the next lap.
From then on, Van Empel dominated with an iron fist. The gap to Pieterse was getting bigger and bigger. At the same time, she also continued to increase her lead over Van Anrooij, who was in no one's land, with no problems to finish in third position.
Cyclocross World Cup Antwerp- Elite Women
- Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 49'10"
- Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +34"
- Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) +1'12"
- Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) +1'30"
- Inge Van de Heijden (777) +1'45"
- Manon Bakker (Crelan - Fristads) +2'14"
- Aniek Van Alphen (777) +2'41"
- Laura Verdonschot +2'48"
- Marie Schreiber +3'15"
- Sanne Cant +3'31"
Cyclo-cross World Cup General Classification
- Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 290 points
- Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 195 points
- Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) 159 points
- Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 156 points
- Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 152 points
- Inge Van de Heijden (777) 149 points
- Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) 117 points
- Aniek Van Alphen (777) 101 points
- Marie Schreiber 91 points
- Hélène Clauzel (AS Bike Racing) 90 points