After a rocky start, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) prevailed to take his fourth Superprestige win in six races under the floodlights at Diegem. Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) took second, 55 seconds back, while at 1:41 Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) rounded off the podium.
Saturday night’s race was the fourth of a five-part holiday cyclo-cross feast. Boxing Day’s World Cup round in Heusden-Zolder saw van der Poel take the win, while two days later at Azencross - part of the DVV Trofee - he was on top of the podium again. After two podium finishes, Van Aert struck back at Friday’s Brico Cross round in Bredene, setting up another battle here.
Things haven’t always gone smoothly for van der Poel this year, with a crash in Boom and mech problems in Gavere denying him a clean sweep of Superprestige victories. At the start of lap one it seemed as though bad luck had struck once again as the European champion hit a barrier.
It was a minor crash rather than a somersault - the main victim being van der Poel’s position. He would have to fight his way back through the field while up front Van Aert put on a blistering pace to take advantage while he could, lining out the front group and getting a small gap at the end of the first lap.
It would only take another lap - the second of seven - for van der Poel to clear the riders in his path. At the end of it he lay 13 seconds behind Van Aert, a gap that vanished amazingly quickly. Just over half a lap later the pair were reunited in the sand, with Sweeck the only other rider within 50 seconds.
At the beginning of lap three van der Poel was on his way. A few metres, a handful of seconds and he was gone. By the uphill road section he looked out of reach, and the only question that remained unanswered was a familiar one: how much would van der Poel win by?
A final flourish saw the Dutchman hold his bike aloft on the line while the remainder of the field slogged their way around - many of them minutes behind. Beyond the podium, German champion Marcel Meisen put in an impressive ride to finish fifth.
Saturday night’s victory sees van der Poel (85pts) close the gap to Van Aert (86) at the top of the Superprestige rankings to one point with two rounds remaining in February. General hostilities recommence on New Year’s Day at the DVV Trofee’s GP Sven Nys.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon - Circus||1:03:45|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:00:55|
|3||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:01:41|
|4||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:18|
|5||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts-Betfirst||0:02:28|
|6||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:02:30|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus||0:02:36|
|8||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus||0:02:51|
|9||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice||0:02:55|
|10||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:15|
|11||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:03:25|
|12||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:03:36|
|13||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:47|
|14||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice||0:04:14|
|15||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan-Charles||0:04:22|
|16||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:04:48|
|17||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)||0:05:37|
|18||Ismael Esteban Aguero (Spa) Ginestar-Delikia||0:05:47|
|19||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Ginestar-Delikia||0:06:05|
|20||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:06:29|
|21||Severin Sägesser (Swi)||0:06:32|
|-1 Lap||Garry Millburn (Aus)|
|-1 Lap||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)|
|-1 Lap||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)|
|-1 Lap||Kenneth Hansen (Den)|
|-2 Laps||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games|
|-2 Laps||Brody Sanderson (Can)|
|-3 Laps||Trevor O'donnell (Can)|
|-3 Laps||Kohei Maeda (Jpn)|
|-3 Laps||Martin Eriksson (Swe)|
|-3 Laps||Andrew Juiliano (USA)|
|-3 Laps||Erno Mc Crae (Bel)|
|-3 Laps||Nicholas Diniz (Can)|
|-4 Laps||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|-4 Laps||Henrik Jansson (Swe)|
|-4 Laps||Alexander Forrester (GBr)|
|DNF||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-Betfirst|
|DNF||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games|