Van der Poel wins penultimate Superprestige round

Wout Van Aert and Kevin Pauwels complete podium

One day after a spectacular win at the final DVV Trophy round in Lille, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) won again in the penultimate round of the Superprestige series in Hoogstraten. It's the nineteenth victory of the season for Van der Poel. Once again, world champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) fell short against the Dutch champion in a direct duel. And also not for the first time this season, Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) finished in third place.

"Again, it was an exciting race where a lot was going on. It was a very tough course to race on," Van der Poel told Telenet Play Sports.

Van der Poel won all but one of the Superprestige rounds this season but still, Van Aert is only five points behind.

"Last year, Wout had a problem with his derailleur. That can happen to me as well. The classification is only decided when you cross the line in Middelkerke," Van der Poel said.

Overnight rain created a muddy course in Hoogstraten. The long twisting section and barriers halfway round the course suited the Dutch 22-year-old rider, with Van Aert not able to hop the barriers as fast as Van der Poel. The final mud section just before the finishing straight suited Van Aert much more. Throughout the race, Van der Poel took the initiative and he quickly discovered Van Aert opted to run the barriers. Straight from the start, Van Aert was forced to chase Van der Poel, Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Pauwels.

The world champion only bridged up when Van der Poel made a small mistake in the mud at the start of the second lap. From the second lap on, the four rode away from the rest of the field. Pauwels often struggled in the running section at the back-end of the course but he always managed to return on the asphalt when the pace dropped in front. From the second lap Van Aert was distanced in the twisting section after the barriers.

Afterwards, he vented his frustration. "As long as those fucking-loops feature in this course I'll never win here, I think. At halfway there's also the barriers in that section. I lacked the morale to try it. It's my own fault that I'm running the barriers but every lap you lose time there," Van Aert told Telenet Play Sports.

"Mathieu has his qualities and exploits them. I don't want to complain too much. It's up to me to become better at it. I know what to work on," Van Aert added.

Nevertheless, Van Aert managed to fight back and he almost bridged back up before reaching the finishing straight. During the sixth of nine laps, Meeusen disappeared from the front with a saddle problem. The mental blow threw Meeusen backwards, and he eventually finished sixth at nearly two minutes.

Unsurprisingly, the endless chasing was wearing Van Aert and Pauwels down. Mentally, Van Aert cracked at the start of the penultimate lap. He made a small mistake in the muddy sections at the beginning of the lap, offering Van der Poel a bonus for free. It turned out to be the decisive moment as Van der Poel seized the opportunity and never allowed Van Aert to close.

Van der Poel realised he was using the right tactics. "I had to do it like that. I wasn't aware that I had a bonus during the penultimate lap. Someone was shouting and when I looked back I saw the gap. I no longer had to wait. The final lap was a matter of avoiding mistakes," Van der Poel said.

Van Aert trailed Van der Poel by eleven seconds when hitting the final lap, with Pauwels a few seconds further back due to the running section just before the finish. Pauwels briefly took the initiative during the sixth lap, when Meeusen fell back. He lacked the power to get ahead of Van Aert at the finish due to the running section.

Van der Poel reached the finish line with a five-second bonus on Van Aert and formed a cross-sign with his arms. Van Aert pushed on until the end but was clearly wasted when he crossed the line. Pauwels was third at fifteen seconds. Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus) was best of the rest at 1:17, preceding Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Tom Meeusen. Non-Elite rider Vincent Baestaens impressed with a seventh place.

The final round of the Superprestige series is held next week in Middelkerke, Belgium. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon1:02:34 
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Verandas Willems - Crelan0:00:06 
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games Cyclin0:00:16 
4Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA Real Estate - Circus0:01:18 
5Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:33 
6Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:46 
7Vincent Bastaens (Bel) VZW Koninklijke Stoempersclub0:02:04 
8Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:02:05 
9Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:02:14 
10Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice0:02:24 
11Wietse Bosmans (Bel) AC Centuloise0:02:43 
12Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games CyclinG0:02:52 
13Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Verona0:02:59 
14Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice0:03:09 
15Tim Merlier (Bel) Verandas Willems - Crelan0:03:25 
16Joeri Adams (Bel) Kalas - H.Essers Cycling Team0:03:32 
17Yorben Van Tichelt (Bel) ERA Real Estate - Circus0:04:09 
18Michael Boros (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice0:04:16 
19Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) ERA Real Estate-Circus  
20Braam Merlier (Bel) Steylaerts-Verona0:04:27 
21Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex Superano 0:04:47 
22Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Team Mahieu - Kona - Vandermee0:05:07 
23Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibañez (Spa) MMR-Spiuk CX Team0:05:15 
24Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) ZZPR Hanclean0:05:23 
25Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts-Verona0:05:27 
26Stan Godrie (Ned) Verandas Willems Cycling Team0:05:33 
27Bart Hofman (Bel) Nodrugs Heroes Flanders0:05:39 
28Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) ZZPR.Nl - Destil0:05:44 
29Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Beobank-Corendon0:06:01 
30Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Beobank Coredon0:06:03 
31Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Garneau - Easton Cycling0:06:09 
32David Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon0:06:17 
33Niels Wubben (Ned) Westland Wil Vooruit  
34Jeremy Martin (Can) Focus CX Team Canada  
35Kerry Werner (USA) Kona Endurance Team  
36Mariusz Gil (Pol) Project Cross Racing  
37Ruben Vandevelde (Bel) Thuisverpleging Delphine Decoc  
38Stijn Huys (Bel) Bruynooghe Cycling Team  
39Antonin Marecaille (Fra) Eseg Douai  
40Tim De Schuyter (Bel) Dmc- Cycling Team VZW  
41Jens Gys (Bel) Vp Consulting-Zannata Cycling  
42Benjamin Krawczyk (Fra) Cl-Barlin  
DNFPhilipp Walsleben (Bel) Ermua  
DNFJens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas - H.Essers Cycling Team  
DNFStephen Hyde (USA)  
DNFDaan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
DNFAngelo De Clercq (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games Cyclin  


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