The ninth and final Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round in Hoogerheide was won by European champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus). A thrilling mud battle for the overall World Cup victory between Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) and world champion Wout van Aert was won by 25-year-old Aerts, who takes the World Cup by two points.
"This season is like a dream to me," Aerts said in the post-race flash interview. "I can hardly believe what I’m achieving. These are things that you dream about as a young rider: winning a title, winning the series. This wasn’t written in the stars when I was a junior rider. Now I’m pulling it off in my fourth year as a pro rider."
Next week in Denmark, Aerts is one of the major podium candidates at the Bogense 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World championships.
“For me, the World Cup means as much as the world championships because you’re the best of the whole season, like in motor cross," Aerts said. "This means a lot to me. Next week, there’s a jersey at stake, so obviously that would be nice too.”
Van der Poel, however, will be the major candidate to take the rainbow jersey in Bogense. Van der Poel, who turned 24 last week, has so far this season won the European and Dutch championships and every World Cup round in which he participated; he skipped the two opening rounds and last week’s penultimate round in Pont-Château in favour of a training camp in Spain. He had no regrets about the overall World Cup.
“It’s well done by Toon to take the World Cup," Van der Poel told Telenet Play Sports. "One wants to go for everything, but choices have to be made. I think it was wise to skip the US after a tough summer season."
In Hoogerheide, Van der Poel struggled early on to keep up with fast starter Aerts. Halfway through race, however, Van der Poel bridged back up to Aerts and then dropped him during the penultimate of seven laps to take yet another solo victory.
“That training camp chopped into it," Van der Poel said. "I noticed straight away that Toon’s pace was a bit too high for me. I hit the red zone but I did feel that the legs were alright. Luckily, I recovered and at the end of the race I got going in the way I wanted to go. I’m satisfied about the way things are right now. I’ve got a positive feeling. I trained a lot and long at the training camp, and hopefully there’ll be super compensation, but I will not be the only one who did it that way."
Coming into the final round of the World Cup, Van Aert had won the penultimate round in Pont-Château. He took over the white World Cup leader’s jersey, which had been on the shoulders of Aerts since the opening round in Waterloo (US). Only three points separated the two riders, and they were up for a final battle in Hoogerheide. Their main goal was to finish ahead of the others to take the overall World Cup.
Aerts’ teammate Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions) took the best start, and his teammate quickly moved up to the front position. Meanwhile, Van Aert missed the corner ahead of the pit area, forcing him to switch bikes. He needed a bit more time to move up, and by the time he got to the front Aerts was already up the road with Van der Poel.
“I didn’t have a great start, but after an acceleration I got to the front and quickly had a gap," Aerts said. "I couldn’t wait because there’s no benefit to be on one’s wheel here. I chose to go for an immediate attack but it was hard to stay ahead."
Van Aert never managed to close the early gap of five seconds, and Van der Poel got dropped at the end of the second lap. Aerts - wearing the Belgian black yellow red tricolore jersey - had extended his lead up to 16 seconds over Van Aert and Van der Poel. The latter briefly got dropped by the world champion but then bounced back.
Halfway through the fourth lap, Van der Poel even bridged back up to Aerts while Van Aert trailed the leaders by 20 seconds. Aerts went through some difficult moments and got dropped by Van der Poel in the penultimate lap, while Van Aert came back to as close as 14 seconds. That was as close as Van Aert came. The positions remained the same until the finish line.
On the podium, the trio switched positions for the overall World Cup. These three men will likely feature on the podium again in Bogense next week as the rest of the field seems unable to fight up against them. Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions) was best of the rest in Hoogerheide, finishing fourth at two minutes from the podium.
Gianni Vermeersch captured his best World Cup result of the season with fifth place ahead of young Joris Nieuwenhuis (Team Sunweb), Quinten Hermans and Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions). A few minutes later, French veteran Francis Mourey (S1NEO Connect) finished an impressive ninth in the final World Cup race of his career, sprinting faster than Tom Meeusen (Corendon-Circus) and Dieter Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal).
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)||1:01:30|
|2||Toon Aerts (Bel)||0:00:13|
|3||Wout Van Aert (Bel)||0:00:32|
|4||Corne Van Kessel (Ned)||0:02:29|
|5||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel)||0:02:38|
|6||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)||0:02:51|
|7||Quinten Hermans (Bel)||0:03:01|
|8||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned)||0:03:07|
|9||Francis Mourey (Fra)||0:04:07|
|10||Tom Meeusen (Bel)||0:04:09|
|11||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)||0:04:13|
|12||Tim Merlier (Bel)||0:04:24|
|13||Laurens Sweeck (Bel)||0:04:25|
|14||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel)||0:04:29|
|15||Thijs Aerts (Bel)||0:04:32|
|16||Marcel Meisen (Ger)||0:04:35|
|17||Fabien Canal (Fra)||0:04:42|
|18||Michael Boroš (Cze)||0:04:50|
|19||Kevin Pauwels (Bel)||0:04:56|
|20||Sieben Wouters (Ned)||0:04:59|
|21||Jens Adams (Bel)|
|22||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa)||0:05:27|
|23||David Van Der Poel (Ned)||0:05:44|
|24||Stephen Hyde (USA)||0:05:48|
|25||Daan Soete (Bel)||0:06:16|
|26||Curtis White (USA)||0:06:19|
|27||Yan Gras (Fra)||0:06:23|
|28||David Menut (Fra)||0:06:29|
|29||Matthieu Boulo (Fra)||0:06:35|
|30||Simon Zahner (Swi)||0:06:42|
|31||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)||0:06:54|
|32||Steve Chainel (Fra)||0:07:03|
|33||Stan Godrie (Ned)||0:07:09|
|34||Tomáš Paprstka (Cze)||0:07:18|
|35||Jim Aernouts (Bel)||0:07:27|
|36||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibañez (Spa)||0:07:29|
|37||Severin Sägesser (Swi)||0:07:38|
|38||Ismael Esteban Aguero (Spa)||0:07:58|
|39||Diether Sweeck (Bel)||0:08:17|
|40||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)|
|41||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)|
|42||Marek Konwa (Pol)|
|43||Braam Merlier (Bel)|
|44||Cristian Cominelli (Ita)|
|45||Timon Rüegg (Swi)|
|46||Joshua Dubau (Fra)|
|47||Kerry Werner (USA)|
|48||Sascha Weber (Ger)|
|49||Lucas Dubau (Fra)|
|50||Gosse Van Der Meer (Ned)|
|51||Manuel Müller (Ger)|
|52||Scott Thiltges (Lux)|
|53||Ian Field (GBr)|
|54||Anthony Clark (USA)|
|55||Ondrej Glajza (Svk)|
|56||Christopher Aitken (Aus)|
|57||Cody Kaiser (USA)|
|58||Henrik Jansson (Swe)|
|59||Max Judelson (USA)|
|60||David Eriksson (Swe)|
|61||Marvin Schmidt (Ger)|
|62||Cameron Jette (Can)|
|63||Andrew Juiliano (USA)|
|64||David Montgomery (Irl)|
|65||Tyler Cloutier (USA)|
|66||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|67||Philipp Heigl (Aut)|
|DNF||Vincent Dias Dos Santos (Lux)|
|DNS||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel)|
|DNS||Garry Millburn (Aus)|