Van Aert celebrates his world title in style
After claiming a hard-fought victory at the Cyclo-cross World Championships on Sunday, Wout Van Aert celebrated his new world title in an unusual style.
The 21-year-old Belgian first paid a visit to McDonald’s with his coach and former world champion Niels Albert. After his fill of a burger and fries, Van Aert headed home to Lille where he served excited fans a few pints of beer dressed in his new rainbow jersey.
Van Aert claimed the world title when he distanced Dutchman Lars Van der Haar on the final lap after a tense battle between the pair.
Van der Poel's father hits back at abusive Belgians
Mathieu van der Poel's father has hit out at the Belgian fans that abused the outgoing world champion at Heusden-Zolder on Sunday. The Dutchman was greeted by a chorus of jeers and was pelted by spit and beer as he made his way around the course, possibly a result of him getting his foot stuck in the wheel of home favourite and eventual winner Wout van Aert at one point. Second place finisher Lars Van der Haar also complained of the same happening to him.
"Throwing beer and spitting - that can really only happen in one country. Do you still have no respect for athletes? They also do it with Van Aert. And do not tell me that this was a few individuals; there were many people who threw and spat," said Adri van der Poel.
"Do the Belgians like to see Mathieu? An entire section does not, I think. Maybe he should just follow Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar and choose road cycling. Mathieu was not good enough today but the media have also played their part in recent weeks, of course. The incident with Wout was decisive. He made a mistake, and with the reaction of the crowd there, that was a blow mentally."
Van der Poel, who won the World Cup round on the same course on Boxing Day, ended up finishing fifth and had no excuses besides acknowledging that he simply had a bad day. Read his reaction to the race here.
Belgian team interested in Van der Haar
Lars van der Haar may have missed out on victory in Sunday’s elite men’s race but his strong performance has sparked the interest of some teams. Van der Haar currently rides for the Giant-Alpecin team, mixing his cyclo-cross with a road programme. However, the Dutchman’s contract runs out with the team at the end of this season.
According to Dutch paper de Telegraaf, Belgian team Marlux-Napoleon Games has expressed interest in signing him. Van der Haar confirmed to the paper that they had approached him but said that negotiations were ongoing and nothing had been signed.
Van der Haar had an exciting duel with Wout Van Aert at the World Championships on Sunday, particularly on the final lap, but faded in the closing moments to take the silver medal behind the Belgian.
Boom enjoys pressure-free race
Lars Boom claims that he battled throughout the elite men's World Championships race at Heusden-Zolder on Sunday, but also notes that he enjoyed racing without any real sense of pressure.
The Dutchman, a former world champion who has focussed primarily on the road in recent seasons, was much less of a favourite than his teammate Mathieu van der Poel, and went on to finish fourteenth. It was a big improvement on his placing of 43rd on the World Cup race that was held on the same course late last year.
"I never stopped fighting. On Boxing Day I was not physically well and my laps were not great. It was better this time," said Boom, according to Dutch website Wieler Flits.
"It was nice to ride a 'cross race without the pressure of being one of the top favourites. The level today was super high, but that's normal - the best of the best is here."