Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) won the third round of the Superprestige Trophy in Boom, taking a solo victory nine seconds ahead of Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus), while Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) rounded off the podium 14 seconds back.
It might have been act one of a big weekend in cyclocross, with the World Cup in Koksijde coming up on Sunday, but Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) was in no mood to hang around. The 22-year-old, who won in Gieten and Zonhoven, ensured another fast start
Van Aert and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) were quick to react to the Dutch prodigy's acceleration though, making it a lead trio on the first lap.
Sweeck and van der Haar were among the leaders of a close chase group, but the separation didn't last long as multiple riders jumped across heading into lap two. Before the was time to tally up the new group makeup though, disaster struck for van der Poel.
The race favourite crashed on a corner, falling out of the lead group and seeming to injury his wrist and ribs. It was a rare misstep for a rider who has so far looked unbeatable over all terrain this season.
Up front, Van Aert wasted little time in pushing the pace to take advantage of the situation, shedding the remainder of the front group to go it alone. At the end of lap three, the gap to his great rival was 50 seconds.
The World Champion's lead over the chasers was 12 seconds after four laps, and Van Aert would remain in this comfortable position for the remainder of the race. Van der Poel, meanwhile, was busy picking riders off and working his way through the field as he tried to salvage something from the race.
Sweeck proved to be second-strongest in the attritional race for the podium spots, while the Telenet-Fidea duo of van der Haar and Quinten Hermans worked to slowly reel in Jens Adams (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice). Van der Haar would make his decisive move for third on the penultimate lap.
Van der Poel was making moves too, moving up lap-by-lap into the top six before passing Adams for fourth on the last lap of the race. Not the win he had hoped for going into the day, or even a podium, but all things considered a good result.
It was Van Aert's day though, and a largely untroubled one, as he sealed the clean sweep of Elite races for Crelan-Charles.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles||1:00:01|
|2||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:00:09|
|3||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:14|
|4||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:00:22|
|5||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|6||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:49|
|7||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:04|
|8||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:01:24|
|9||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:01:36|
|10||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:01:43|
|11||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:01:52|
|12||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:02:01|
|13||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)||0:02:34|
|14||Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:02:37|
|15||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)||0:03:24|
|16||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:03:34|
|17||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:41|
|18||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:03:46|
|19||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan - Charles||0:04:08|
|20||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)||0:04:32|
|21||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:05:03|
|22||Dario Tielen (Bel)|
|23||Edwin De Wit (Bel)|
|LAP||Mathieu Willemyns (Bel)|
|LAP||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|LAP||Michael Butler (GBr)|
|LAP||Glenn Kinning (Irl)|
|LAP||Wouter Goosen (Bel)|
|LAP||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon|
|DNF||Joeri Adams (Bel)|