Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) seems unbeatable these days. The 21-year-old won the third round of the DVV Trophy in Hamme, Belgium on Sunday afternoon, only a day removed from a World Cup victory in Zeven, Germany.
Van der Poel completed nearly the entire race solo in Hamme, maintaining a narrow lead over eventual runner-up Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) and third-placed Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate - Circus) all the way to the line.
"Today I suffered a lot. I figured to keep the gap at 10 seconds but behind me they kept going flat out. Luckily I can handle the pressure of dealing with a lead but I was glad to cross the finish line," van der Poel told Sporza.
Laurens Sweeck enjoyed the best start. The 22 year-old Belgian quickly tried to create a gap. "I wanted to open fast but Mathieu quickly came over me," Sweeck said. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) took the early initiative in limiting Sweeck’s advantage, with Van Aert and van der Poel waiting for their moment.
Van der Poel accelerated to the front in the second lap just before the intermediate sprint. He picked up 15 bonus seconds and Meeusen 10 seconds. Sweeck picked up the final five seconds but he was losing ground on the leaders, with Van Aert on his wheel.
"When Mathieu accelerated I wasn't in the right position to react. I was struggling at that moment," Van Aert told Sporza.
At the end of the second lap, van der Poel and Meeusen were five seconds ahead of Sweeck and Van Aert. A few moments later Meeusen touched the rear wheel of van der Poel and lost contact with the Dutch champion. He faded back into a chase group with Van Aert, Sweeck, Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea), Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games), Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts). The group trailed van der Poel by 11 seconds after the third lap. Meeusen continued to lose ground throughout the race and eventually finished fourteenth at more than two minutes. Vermeersch soon dropped away as well. Van der Poel made no mistakes in front and kept the chasers at just over 10 seconds.
A row broke out between Vincent Baestaens (Beobank-Corendon) and Jens Adams (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) in the fifth lap. TV-images showed the duo riding close to each other in a group of riders. Baestaens was seen shouting to Adams, who then hit out at his head. A few moments later, Baestaens rode into Adams and pushed him twice into the fencing. Shortly after, the race jury decided to take both riders out of the race, but then that decision was changed with only Baestaens ejected.
Meanwhile, van der Poel was still riding solo in front. Before long, only Van Aert and Sweeck were left in the chase group, with Pauwels, Vanthourenhout and Van Kessel riding at short distance. "We kept riding at ten seconds. While working together we gained some seconds but not enough. Mathieu was in control," Sweeck said.
In the four final laps the chasing duo exchanged the work but failed to close in on Van der Poel. They did succeed in holding off a comeback from Pauwels. "It was good that for once we weren't racing against each other but exchanging the work. That's how we both got on the podium," Van Aert said. Eventually the pair battled between themselves for second place. Van Aert made a small mistake early on in the final lap, and Sweeck tried to capitalize, but he wasn't able to keep the world champion in the rearview mirror for long. In the ensuing sprint, Van Aert easily beat Sweeck to runner-up honors.
In the time-based classification of the DVV Trophy, Van Aert remains in the lead. Pauwels lost a few more seconds and now trails Van Aert by 2:06. Michael Vanthourenhout is third at 2:23. Mathieu van der Poel moves into eighth place at 4:55, having lost several minutes at Koppenbergcross.
The next round of the DVV cyclo-cross series is held in Essen on December 10th.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:57:50|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice||0:00:06|
|3||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:00:07|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:00:20|
|5||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:28|
|6||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:00:29|
|7||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice||0:01:16|
|8||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts||0:01:18|
|9||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:29|
|10||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:53|
|11||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:01:55|
|12||David Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:02:07|
|13||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:11|
|14||Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com||0:02:30|
|15||Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice||0:02:52|
|16||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:03:01|
|17||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas-NNOF||0:03:04|
|18||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) ERA-Circus||0:03:11|
|19||Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:04:15|
|20||Joeri Adams (Bel) Kalas-NNOF||0:04:38|
|21||Dario Tielen (Bel)||0:05:25|
|22||Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||0:05:45|
|23||Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing||0:05:51|
|24||Michael Boros (Cze) ERA-Circus||0:05:58|
|25||Matthias Van De Velde (Bel)|
|26||Eric Thompson (USA) Hed p/b Molten Speed Wax|
|27||Sebastien Carabin (Bel)|
|DSQ||Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice|
|DSQ||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon|
|DNF||Braam Merlier (Bel)|
|DNF||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Beobank-Corendon|