Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) left little doubt who is the patron of the cyclocross peloton with another convincing win at Friday's Trek CXC Cup. Van der Poel broke way with Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) early in the race, and the pair rode together until four laps to go when Van der Poel again cranked up the speed to win his second race of the week.
Despite the brief duel between Van der Poel and Aerts the real antagonist of the race was the heat.
"It was very hot today, there is almost no shadow here, and it is just so hot," Van der Poel said. "In the corners, you don't have the speed, it comes to you like a hammer. I think when it's 15 degrees colder the lap times will be 30 seconds faster. It is a constant battle against the heat here."
Friday's C2 race is a similar course to Sunday's UCI World Cup with a handful of minor modifications. Core elements of the World Cup course including the 'Junkyard Drop' - a hilly, twisting path through a shady grove of woods, and 'Little Zolder' a fast trail through the edge of a forest, remained in the course. Several traverses on Factory Hill, a steep run up and descent, were removed for Friday's race. The weather continued to play a key factor as unseasonably warm temperatures climbed to over 30 celsius before the 3:45 start time.
Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-Betfirst) scored the holeshot, but it wasn't long before Van der Poel took over the reigns at the front of the field. Three laps into the race Van der Poel and Aerts jumped away from the field and began to build a sizeable gap.
"First it was a little acceleration by Van der Poel in the trees, I can do it too but not as good as him," Aerts said. "That's how we get some seconds away from the rest of the field. I think after us everyone looked at each other and that is the reason we got that gap as fast as we did. One lap or two laps later Van der Poel did the same again, and then he was gone from me."
Van der Poel and Aerts held their respective leads while behind them the fight for third between Vermeersch, Vincent Baestaens, Eli Iserbyt (Marlux-Napoleon Games), and Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions) had begun. Van der Poel held on for the win followed by Aerts in second. Baestaens was able to get the advantage over the chasing group in the final laps and finished third.
"In the beginning, I make a few mistakes, and the riders in front of me made a few mistakes, so it was hard to come back always, Baestaens said. "I came to the front Mathieu and Toon were already gone, but normally they are stronger than me, so I was focusing on the third place. On the back of the steep hills, I think my gear was a little smaller than the other guys, so I think it made the difference for third place."
Van der Poel felt jumping into Friday's race was a smart opportunity to prepare for Sunday's World Cup given the challenges that the technical course and heat will present.
"The course is actually pretty dangerous in some places," Van der Poel said. "It is slippery, and especially with the heat, the concentration is a bit less than when it's colder. I think the little errors can make a difference here."
Racing continues in Waterloo on Sunday with the Trek CXC Cup UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup at 3:30 Central Time.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||1:01:26|
|2||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:22|
|3||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)||0:00:28|
|4||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:00:33|
|5||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:02|
|6||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:01:12|
|7||Tobin Ortenblad (USA)||0:01:24|
|8||Ian Field (GBr)||0:01:49|
|9||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:02|
|10||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:02:10|
|11||Matthieu Boulo (Fra)||0:02:25|
|12||Spencer Petrov (USA) Aspire Racing||0:02:59|
|13||Brian Matter (USA)||0:03:14|
|14||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:03:17|
|15||Andrew Dillman (USA)||0:03:33|
|16||Garry Millburn (Aus)||0:03:56|
|17||Gage Hecht (USA)||0:04:15|
|18||Eric Thompson (USA)||0:04:38|
|19||Travis Livermon (USA)||0:05:29|
|20||Justin Lindine (USA)||0:05:40|
|21||Mark McConnell (Can)||0:05:58|
|22||Trevor O'Donnell (Can)|
|23||Josh Bauer (USA)|
|24||Isaac Niles (Can)|
|25||Caleb Swartz (USA)|
|26||Jason Wiebe (Can)|
|27||Kyle Russ (USA)|
|28||Brendon Sharratt (NZl)|
|29||Derrick St John (Can)|
|30||Nicholas Lemke (USA)|
|31||Michael Larson (USA)|
|32||Dylan Postier (USA) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Lifecare|
|33||Masaru Nakazato (Jpn)|
|34||Andrew Giniat (USA)|
|35||Scotty Albaugh (USA)|
|36||Bryan Fosler (USA)|
|37||Alex Morgan (USA)|
|38||Jason Siegle (USA)|
|39||Gunnar Holmgren (Can)|
|40||Christian Ricci (Can)|
|41||David Reyes (USA)|
|42||David Sheek (USA)|
|43||Jacob Huizenga (USA)|
|44||Bjorn Selander (USA)|
|45||Andrew Thompson (USA)|
|46||Joel Finkeldei (USA)|
|47||Hayden McLaughlin (USA)|
|48||Tyler Stein (USA)|
|49||Christian Sundquist (USA)|
|50||Nick Thomas (USA)|
|51||Tim Gale (Can)|
|52||Johannes Stromski (USA)|
|53||Tyler Curtis (USA)|
|54||Jesse Quagliaroli (USA)|
|55||Jake Peterson (USA)|
|DNF||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts - Betfirst|
|DNF||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst|
|DNF||Kerry Werner (USA)|
|DNF||Steve Chainel (Fra) Team Chazal Canyon|
|DNF||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan - Charles|
|DNF||Jeremy Durrin (USA)|
|DNF||Ben Senkerik (USA)|
|DNF||Isaac Neff (USA)|
|DNF||Ted Willard (USA)|
|DNF||Jarret Oldham (USA)|
|DNF||Lee Unwin (USA)|
|DNS||Stephen Hyde (USA)|
|DNS||Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing|
|DNS||James Driscoll (USA)|
|DNS||Anthony Clark (USA)|
|DNS||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions|
|DNS||Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|DNS||Mitch Nordahl (USA)|
|DNS||Matthew Clements (USA)|