Van der Poel wins the first big battle between the magnificent three
Under a mild winter sun and with one of the toughest and most classic World Cup circuits, Gavere hosted one of the most exciting races we have experienced this cyclocross season. Mathieu van der Poel took his second World Cup victory here, the first time the magnificent three have topped the World Cup podium together.
At the end of the race, Van Aert said that today the atmosphere was like that of a World Championship.
Mathieu van der Poel wins the CX World Cup Gavere 2022
After the first few laps in which the magnificent three managed to find their position at the front of the race, by lap 4 they had got rid of all the specialists in the category and were riding alone, alternating podium positions.
With 2 laps to go, Van der Poel was leading closely followed by Van Aert and Pidcock, but the British rider managed on the same lap to catch Van der Poel and overtake him to take the lead of the race.
We can say that it was during lap 5 when we saw for the first time in the season the magnificent three performing at their best, without mechanical or physical problems. But Pidcock did not know how to regulate well his performance and on the last lap he had no choice but to drop while Van der Poel was still first with a very strong pace and Van Aert was fighting to cut the 9 seconds that separated him from his eternal rival.
Taking nothing for granted and knowing that Van Aert was following him closely, Mathieu van der Poel did not give ground at any time. But with no more surprises and no more faltering, the Dutchman reached the finish line in first place with a time of 57.14 minutes, which was enough to take his second World Cup victory this year.
In second place came Wout van Aert at 27 seconds and Tom Pidcock closed the podium 54 seconds behind.
At the end of the race, Van der Poel commented that he felt very good throughout the race and benefited from the hard and complicated course. For his part, Van Aert explained "I had no rhythm, my legs didn't feel good from the start, I was surprised to be among the best." "Today here was the atmosphere of a World Championship."
Pidcock explained the fainting he suffered when he was leading the race: "For a moment I thought I could win but in the running sections the bike was getting heavier and heavier every lap".
Gavere 2022 CX World Cup Classification
- VAN DER POEL Mathieu (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) 57:14
- VAN AERT Wout (JUMBO-VISMA) +27
- PIDCOCK THOMAS (INEOS GRENADIERS) +54
- VANTHOURENHOUT Michael (PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL) +1:53
- VAN DER HAAR Lars (BALOISE TREK LIONS) +2:20
- SWEECK Laurens (CRELAN - FRISTADS) +2:55
- NYS Thibau (BALOISE TREK LIONS) +3:50
- VANDEBOSCH Toon (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) +3:57
- MASON Cameron (TRINITY RACING CROSS) +4:02
- KUYPERS Gerben (BELGIUM) +4:10