Newly crowned elite men's world champion, Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) debuted his rainbow jersey in winning fashion at the Bpost Bank Trophy finale in Lille on Saturday. The Dutchman won the final round of the Bpost Bank Trophy cyclo-cross series, finishing solo on the fast sand course.
Arch rival Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) was already certain of the overall victory in the Bpost Bank Trophy. Van Aert won the hard-fought sprint for second place in his hometown Lille ahead of Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).
The solo win in Lille was the ninth victory of Van der Poel in the elite men's category. The 20-year-old explained that it was great to win in his rainbow jersey. “I’m delighted. When I headed here I received a box full of new clothing. That was very motivating. Once again I had great legs. We peaked towards this time of the year and then it’s great fun to race,” Van der Poel told Sporza.
Much in contrast to the World Championships race of last weekend in Tabor, the speed in Lille was very high. Early on Van der Poel was in the hurt box while Van der Haar and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) were leading the race. During the second lap, Meeusen took the bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint ahead of Van der Haar and Vincent Baestaens (BKCP-Powerplus).
Sven Nys moved to the front in the third of nine laps. His efforts briefly resulted in a four-man lead group that featured Van Aert, Van der Haar and Van der Poel but they were brought back.
In the fourth lap, Van der Poel took control of the race. Only Nys was able to follow but not for long. Lars van der Haar was being held up by Tom Meeusen and once he overtook the Belgian he didn’t plan to let Van der Poel ride away. He gave all he had to close the gap in the beginning of the fifth lap, successfully bridging up to Van der Poel. Not for long. A few moments later Van der Poel was gone for good. Van Aert bridged up with Van der Haar but even though they shared the work they only lost more ground on the leader.
“I wasn’t exactly waiting at first,“ Van der Poel explained. “The first two laps I was struggling at the back of the group. I didn’t know what to think. It went so fast. In one move I reached the front and quickly realized that it was much more comfortable than riding at the back. I accelerated because it was a technical course that suits me. More quickly than I anticipated I had a gap. I feared that it would become another long effort but time quickly passed by.”
In the background Nys and Pauwels bridged up with Van Aert and Van der Haar. None of the four riders really tried to shake off the others. Clearly all of these riders were gambling on their sprint qualities. Meanwhile Van der Poel created a massive lead of fifty seconds when hitting the final lap.
The world champion took his time to take in the applauds from the crowd when crossing the finish line. Behind him Van Aert led out the sprint, already setting a fierce pace in the previous sections. Nys surprised Van der Haar and Pauwels when moving into second place. Once on the finishing straight Van Aert brutally increased the speed, putting everybody on their limit. Everybody waited as long as possible before sprinting side by side. In the end, only Van der Haar moved up a spot, beating Pauwels on the line for fourth place.
Van Aert was pleased with second place and not as disappointed as after his World Championships race in which he also finished as runner-up. “I hoped to ride for the victory today but I soon realized that winning would not be an option today. The strongest rider won today. That’s easier to deal with,” Van Aert told Sporza.
Nys was pleased with his first podium result in a very long time. “I’m very pleased with this result. It means that I’m on the way back up. The English say: ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I can end the season with good sensations,” Nys told Sporza.
Van Aert holds a massive 6:17-minute lead over Pauwels in the final general classification of the Bpost Bank Trophy. Nys is third at 7:14 ahead of Tom Meeusen who’s at 7:53. Mathieu van der Poel didn’t participate in all rounds of the series.
“This was super important. The two championships are the most important races of the season but also the series are nice to score high. I’m very glad I won the series,” Van Aert told Sporza.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|3||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink Team|
|4||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|6||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team|
|7||Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|8||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|9||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team|
|10||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|11||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|12||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|13||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|14||Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|15||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink Team|
|16||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|17||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|18||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|19||Martin Bina (Cze) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|20||Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continentaal Team|
|21||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|22||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|23||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team|
|24||David Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team|
|25||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|26||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Project Cross Racing|
|27||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)|
|28||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Colba - Superano Ham Cont. Cycling Team|
|29||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|30||Vinnie Braet (Bel) Colba - Superano Ham Cont. Cycling Team|
|31||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|32||Severin Saegesser (Sui)|
|33||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Veranclassic -Ekoi Continental Cycling Team|
|34||Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|35||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW|
|36||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|37||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW|
|38||Mathieu Willemyns (Bel) MEZ Team Belgium Snellegem|
|39||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Hargroves Cycles|
|40||Kevin Cant (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|41||Niels Koyen (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team|
|42||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)|
|43||Inigo Gomez Elorriaga (Spa)|
|44||Jon Gomez Elorriaga (Spa)|
|45||Yoann Corbihan (Fra)|
|46||Wouter Goosen (Bel) Zannata Cycling Team|