Mathieu van der Poel opened his 2018-2019 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup account on Sunday afternoon with a solo victory on a fast course in Bern, Switzerland. The European champion distanced his rivals during the third of 11 laps, held off a comeback from world champion Wout van Aert and completed his long solo effort to capture the win at the Weyermannshaus open-air pool in Bern.
Van Aert kept the pressure high and finished as runner-up at eight seconds from Van der Poel. World Cup leader Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) won the battle for third place at a minute from the winner and holds on to the leader’s jersey after his back-to-back wins in the USA.
On the fast course in sunny Bern, it was hard to make the difference for the top riders. Van Aert had a great start and was joined up front by Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) and Van der Poel. The rest of the field lost ground as riders struggled on the few technical obstacles and held up the rest of the pack.
During the third lap of the race, Van der Poel took command with an acceleration along the barriers. Moments later, Van Aert dropped his chain after coming through a 180-degree corner. Van der Poel never allowed the Belgian rider to close the small gap back down.
“Wout started explosively and I was suffering. I knew Daan was in second place. At the barriers I knew Daan wasn’t jumping, so I planned to accelerate there. It’s hard to create a gap on this course. There are only two or three sections where you can go flat out so that’s what I did, but Wout does that too,” Van der Poel said.
For eight laps, the cyclo-cross giants rode what seemed like a time trial. Van der Poel rode flawlessly and never seemed to let the race slip out of his control. Shortly after Van Aert’s mechanical problem, he rode the fastest lap of the race in five minutes 45. Van Aert was good during that fourth lap, but just not good enough to come much closer than the six seconds he lost when he dropped his chain. Halfway through the race, the gap suddenly increased to 11 seconds.
“I noticed that Mathieu was unable to go any faster, but on this course, it’s harder to go any faster than him. Halfway through the race, I shifted back into my comfort zone and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to let that happen. I need to keep fighting for every second,” said Van Aert. “I shifted wrong and my chain dropped. It’s a pity that I lost the race because of this incident. I kept trying because if the same happened with him I still had a chance,” Van Aert said.
Much further back, Toon Aerts salvaged his World Cup leader when he escaped a large chase group on the penultimate lap and stormed towards third place. After the race, his hands were bleeding.
“There are a lot of corners on this course, and with my long body, I sometimes hit one of the poles. It’s part of the job. I’m pleased that I’ll be wearing the white jersey in Tábor, and hopefully, I’ll still wear it in the next round in Koksijde. It’s a bit difficult for me to focus on one classification right now, this early in the season,” Aerts said. Aerts leads the World Cup classification with 225 points, 15 more than Van Aert. Van der Poel skipped the two first World Cup rounds in the USA.
During the last lap, Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) won the battle for fourth place, preceding Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions), Soete and Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions). Young Spanish rider Felipe Orts Lloret (Delikia-Ginestar) impressed with his eighth place in Bern. He finished ahead of Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) and French champion Steve Chainel (Team Chazal-Canyon). The home crowd had to wait for Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-SRAM) to see the first Swiss rider at the finish line in 22nd place at 2:33.
The next World Cup round is held in Tábor, Czech Republic on November 17.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)||1:04:48|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel)||0:00:08|
|3||Toon Aerts (Bel)||0:00:58|
|4||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel)||0:01:07|
|5||Quinten Hermans (Bel)||0:01:10|
|6||Daan Soete (Bel)||0:01:13|
|7||Corne Van Kessel (Ned)|
|8||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa)||0:01:17|
|9||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned)||0:01:22|
|10||Steve Chainel (Fra)||0:01:38|
|11||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel)||0:01:50|
|12||Tom Meeusen (Bel)||0:01:51|
|13||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)|
|14||Jens Adams (Bel)||0:02:03|
|15||Tim Merlier (Bel)||0:02:09|
|16||Kevin Pauwels (Bel)||0:02:13|
|17||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel)|
|18||Laurens Sweeck (Bel)||0:02:26|
|19||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)||0:02:28|
|20||Fabien Canal (Fra)||0:02:29|
|21||David Van Der Poel (Ned)||0:02:30|
|22||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)||0:02:33|
|23||Michael Boroš (Cze)||0:02:34|
|24||Jim Aernouts (Bel)||0:02:48|
|25||Adam Ťoupalík (Cze)||0:02:54|
|26||Joshua Dubau (Fra)||0:02:55|
|27||Sieben Wouters (Ned)||0:03:03|
|28||Diether Sweeck (Bel)||0:03:05|
|29||Matthieu Boulo (Fra)||0:03:06|
|30||Thijs Aerts (Bel)||0:03:12|
|31||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)||0:03:14|
|32||David Menut (Fra)||0:03:19|
|33||Simon Zahner (Swi)|
|34||Timon Rüegg (Swi)||0:03:21|
|35||Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)||0:03:26|
|36||Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||0:03:38|
|37||Gosse Van Der Meer (Ned)||0:03:49|
|38||Marek Konwa (Pol)||0:04:02|
|39||Ismael Esteban Aguero (Spa)||0:04:22|
|40||Jan Nesvadba (Cze)||0:04:30|
|41||Stan Godrie (Ned)||0:04:35|
|42||Lucas Dubau (Fra)|
|43||Severin Sägesser (Swi)|
|44||Wietse Bosmans (Bel)|
|45||Yan Gras (Fra)|
|46||Alois Falenta (Fra)|
|47||Andreas Moser (Swi)|
|48||Lukas Winterberg (Swi)|
|49||Marvin Schmidt (Ger)|
|DNF||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)|
|DNF||Marcel Meisen (Ger)|
|DNF||Sascha Weber (Ger)|
|DNS||Manuel Müller (Ger)|
|DNS||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|