Van der Poel downs Van Aert for fifth cyclo-cross world title

Mathieu van der Puel came out on top in a heavyweight bout with top contender Wout Van Aert to win the fifth cyclocross world championship on Sunday.

Van der Poel called the triumph on the track designed by his father Adri “one of the three best moments of my career”.

Van der Poel put Belgian Van Aert out of the final sprint by ending a superb three days of Dutch cyclists in front of nearly 50,000 home fans in Hougerheide.

Friday’s six-rider relay gold went to the Netherlands, and 24 hours later, Fem van Empel was leading the women’s race for the Dutch title with a score of 1-2-3.

Van der Pool took over from Briton Tom Pidcock, who missed the event, to attend a training camp in Spain in preparation for the road racing season.

Three classic road race winner Van der Poel reveled in the mud, attacking from the first lap, which gave compatriot Lars van der Haar only a short time in command.

The two main performers, Van der Pool and Van Aert, have already taken the lead at the business end of Lap 10 of the 3.2km course.

In a thrilling final duel between the pair at their 11th cyclo-cross meeting of the season, it was Van der Poel who held the ace card.

He ran away from Van Aert 120 meters from the line, separating him and his opponent by a couple of bike lengths.

Van Aert’s Belgian compatriot Elie Iserbeet finished third, 12 seconds back.

Van der Poel said the key to his victory was “calmness throughout the race”.

“We both quickly realized that it would be possible to slip away from each other,” he added.

Van Aert said he was convinced “Mathieu was going to try something on before the sprint”.

“I was so focused on that scenario that I was a little overwhelmed when it all went wrong,” he explained, saying he should have tried to run to the finish line earlier “because you can do it on this track.”

Van der Poel, grandson of three-time Tour de France medalist Raymond Polydor, added this to his previous victories in 2015, 2019-2021.



Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker