Van der Poel dominates in the sand at Gieten Superprestige

Van Aert a distant second, Aerts third

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the first round of the 2018 Superprestige Trophy in Gieten, beating his long-time rival Wout Van Aert (Cibel-Cebon) by 31 seconds after the pair broke away from the peloton on the opening lap. Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) rounded off the podium 1:30 down on the winner.

Van Aert and van der Poel were only together briefly, before the Dutchman made his break for victory on the second lap of the race. From then the race was more or less decided, with van der Poel time trialing his way around the fast but sandy circuit, once he got a comfortable gap over Van Aert.

The battle for third place was more interesting than the fight for victory, with a large group together for much of the race until Aerts got away three laps from the finish.

Van der Poel's victory marks a remarkable comeback. He crashed on Saturday while riding Brico Cross in Lokeren, sustaining damage to his right ankle ligaments. It was initially feared that he had broken his ankle, though clearly his injuries hadn't hindered his ability to race - and win.

How it happened

The men tackled 11 laps of the same 4.9km circuit as the women - mixed dirt, tarmac and especially sand. Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert have shared the spoils in the previous four editions at the race, with van der Poel winning in 2014, 2016 and last year and Van Aert taking victory in 2015.

From the start it was the same story we've seen many times before, as van der Poel and Van Aert soon distanced themselves from the rest of the peloton to fight for the win. It was the same scenario as last year's race as the world and European champion broke away almost immediately. By the end of lap one, the duo had a ten-second gap over the peloton, with van der Poel's strained ankle ligaments clearly not bothering him just a day later.

On the second lap, van der Poel was away, leaving Van Aert behind to strike forth for victory. Further back, Lars van der Haar, Toon Aerts (both Telenet Fide Lions) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) led the chase some 25 seconds behind.

At the end of lap three, van der Poel was 14 seconds ahead of Van Aert, while Aerts and Vanthourenhout lay 35 second down. Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) and van der Haar were a further nine seconds down, with the fight for the final podium spot very much on.

From there, the time gaps only grew, as did the chase group behind the 'big two'. Midway through the race, at the end of lap five, van der Poel was 27 seconds ahead of Van Aert, while Soete, van der Haar, Aerts and Vanthourenhout had merged together and were joined by David van der Poel (Corendon-Circus). That group lay 1:08 back.

Lap eight saw some separation in the chase group as Aerts got away from the rest, distancing the remains of the chase by seven seconds by the start of lap nine. Still, he was 1:35 behind van der Poel, who was comfortably riding to victory by that point.

Heading into the penultimate lap, the top three positions looked decided, with van der Poel 33 seconds ahead of Van Aert and 1:29 ahead of Aerts, who was comfortably solo in third place. That was the final podium decided, and the first round of eight Superprestige races over and done with.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)0:48:03 
2Wout Van Aert (Bel)0:00:31 
3Toon Aerts (Bel)0:01:30 
4Lars Van Der Haar (Ned)0:01:40 
5Marcel Meisen (Ger)0:01:49 
6Daan Soete (Bel)0:02:03 
7David Van Der Poel (Ned)0:02:17 
8Kevin Pauwels (Bel)0:02:23 
9Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)0:02:26 
10Gianni Vermeersch (Bel)0:02:52 
11Jens Adams (Bel)0:03:00 
12Tom Meeusen (Bel)0:03:14 
13Michael Boroš (Cze)0:03:22 
14Diether Sweeck (Bel)0:03:36 
15Braam Merlier (Bel)0:03:45 
16Tim Merlier (Bel)0:03:59 
17Thijs Aerts (Bel)0:04:18 
18Nicolas Cleppe (Bel)0:04:28 
19Toon Vandebosch (Bel)0:04:34 
20Stan Godrie (Ned)lap 
21Sieben Wouters (Ned)lap 
22Thomas Pidcock (GBr)lap 
23Roel Van Der Stegen (Ned)lap 
24Jakob Dorigoni (Ita)lap 
25Wietse Bosmans (Bel)lap 
26Kyle Agterberg (Ned)lap 
27Gosse Van Der Meer (Ned)lap 
28Thymen Arensman (Ned)lap 
29Maik Van Der Heijden (Ned)lap 
30Kelvin Bakx (Ned)lap 
31Mees Hendrikx (Ned)lap 
32Gioele Bertolini (Ita)lap 
33Loris Rouiller (Swi)lap 
34Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned)lap 
35Bart Artz (Ned)lap 
36Daniel Tulett (GBr)lap 
37Tomas Kopecky (Cze)lap 
38Tijmen Eising (Ned)lap 
39Yorben Van Tichelt (Bel)lap 
40Ryan Kamp (Ned)lap 
41Cameron Mason (GBr)lap 
42Martin Mijnten (Ned)lap 
43Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)lap 
44Koen Van Helvoirt (Ned)lap 
45Bart Barkhuis (Ned)lap 
46Jakub Ríman (Cze)lap 
47Felix Holst (Ger)lap 
48Niels Bakker (Ned)lap 
49Marco Oberteicher (Ger)lap 
50Tim Rieckmann (Ger)lap 
DNFLaurens Sweeck (Bel)  
DNFMichael Vanthourenhout (Bel)  
DNFQuinten Hermans (Bel)  
DNFAdam Toupalík (Cze)  
DNFMaarten Visker (Ned)  
DNFEli Iserbyt (Bel)  
DNFJens Dekker (Ned)  
DNFBen Turner (GBr)  
DNFJirí Štepáník (Cze)  
DNSDieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)  
DNSJoshua Dubau (Fra)  
DNSLucas Dubau (Fra)  
DNSThomas Joseph (Bel)  
DNSEddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned)  
DNSSergio Ivan Fernandez Rodriguez (Spa)  
DNSMika Van Gestel (Ned)  
DNSCarlos Schreuder (Ned)  

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