Van Aert dominates in Koksijde against a Van der Poel with back problems

Cyclocross 05/01/23 16:12 Migue A.

Van Aert shines on the X2O in Koksijde and wins with much superiority. Van der Poel came in at 1 minute and 38 seconds after more than half the race dealing with back problems. Despite the ghosts of the past, he kept on racing and held off Sweek, who closed the podium after a great performance.

Van Aert leaves his rivals with no options while Van der Poel's back problems return

An uneventful start to the race left Van der Poel in fifth and Van Aert in the sixth position. Halfway through the first lap, Sweek took the lead and opened a small gap.

Even so, the adventure was brief. Van der Poel caught him and overtook him with great force in one of the multiple passes through the sand offered by the Koksijde circuit. Meanwhile, Van Aert was in third position and managed to catch a combative Sweek, who was resisting to get away from the Dutchman.

Van der Poel closed the first lap with a five-second lead over Sweek, Van Aert, Vandeputte, Vandebosch, Van der Haar and Merlier.

Van Aert got rid of Sweek quickly, probably motivated by the fact that his main rival was starting to distance himself too much. The Belgian finally managed to get to Van der Poel's wheel and, after waiting a bit behind, went on to lead the race.

Van der Poel showed again the power and the ability to pass over the sand without getting off the bike, but then it was he who got off his Canyon while Van Aert didn't. To the surprise of many, Sweek then rejoined them and they reached the finish line together.

The Crelan-Fristads rider seemed to suffer at times from the pace of the two cyclocross giants, but managed to stay on the wheel and even take the lead after a pit stop in which Van Aert lost some time.

Although Sweek opened a gap and Van der Poel did the same with Van Aert, moments later the three rejoined again.

Already on the third lap, Van Aert pushed. Van der Poel was still in his wake and Sweek gave up a few meters. But Van Aert set a pace that was too high even for the Dutchman, who lost almost 10 seconds.

A considerable distance that the Belgian increased during the rest of the lap until he started the next turn with an 18-second lead. Behind, Sweek, in no man's land, was 34 seconds behind the leader.

With plenty of race still to go, as the minutes ticked by Van Aert looked closer and closer to victory. With a mistake-free ride, he rode solo without showing any weaknesses that Van der Poel could exploit.

Van Aert started the sixth lap just before the race was replayed with Van der Poel stretching his back. A gesture that made one suspect that perhaps the problems that kept him out of the mud last season had returned and that could justify the 52 seconds that distanced him from the leader.

Penultimate lap. 1 minute and 15 seconds to a Van der Poel who was not giving up but was still losing time. Sweek, a few seconds behind the Dutchman, saw a chance to stay ahead of the Orange Beast.

But despite his great performance, Sweek did not have the pace to fight Van der Poel for second place. Thus, the top three faced the last lap with the positions very determined.

This time, Van der Poel had managed to stop the bleeding and crossed the finish line with the same deficit as on the previous lap. Although it should be noted that, with those seconds in his pocket, Van Aert just needed to control and avoid making mistakes.

The lap went without surprises and Van Aert crossed the finish line in a day in which he had no rival. Impossible to find anything negative in a victory that comes just a month before the World Championship.

Van der Poel finished at 1 minute and 38 seconds behind. After the race he confirmed that he had again suffered from back problems, although he said he did not know why they had appeared.

The podium was completed by Sweek after a good race of the Belgian who at times competed with the two giant riders on the mud today.

Koksijde X2O – Men Elite

  1. Wout Van Aert 
  2. Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 
  3. Laurens Sweek (Crelan-Fristads)
  4. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 
  5. Lars Van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) 
  6. Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
  7. Jens Adams (Chocovit Cycling Team)
  8. Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions)
  9. Gerben Kuypers
  10. Daan Soete (Deschacht - Hens - Maes)



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Van Aert arrasa en Koksijde ante un Van der Poel con problemas de espalda