There were no games, or 'cat and mouse' tactics at the Jingle Cross World Cup Cyclo-Cross race. There was just Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) hammering away at the front of the field winning his first World Cup of the season with an impressive display of force.
Van der Poel's strategy appeared to have one goal, demoralize the competition. Van der Poel jumped off the start line grabbing the holeshot and an early lead.
"It's a matter of getting in your pedal right away," Van der Poel said matter of factly about his start. "There was a little bit of an advantage because there is only one ride-able path through the stones at the start line and it was good for me."
High temperatures and a 3 PM start time meant riders were forced to contend with peak sun on a bright summer day. Riders were showing up at the start line with bottles and ice packs and even the seemingly invincible Van der Poel appeared concerned with the temperatures.
"Today was less hot than the previous days," Van der Poel said. "We don't normally have this kind of weather in Belgium during cyclocross season, so the conditions are hard. For me today it was getting warmer and warmer each lap."
Van der Poel established an early lead attacking the field on Mount Krumpit the very first lap. Nobody could match the 22-year-old Dutch rider who missed last year's race due to a knee injury. Van der Poel grew his lead each lap, charging every hill and riding with his customary reckless abandon in the early laps down the backside of Mount Krumpit. His fast descents helped Van der Poel grow his lead but also caused some problems in the opening laps of the race.
"In the beginning, it was a point for me to make the gap a little bit bigger but that's where I had my chain problem as well because it is very bumpy at the bottom," Van der Poel said. "I think my advantage was enough to take it easy. Easy is not the right word, but to have a little bit of control there and not going full gas without thinking on the downhill."
Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus), the winner of Friday Night's C1 race at Jingle Cross, attacked out of the chase group behind Van der Poel and was joined by Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions.) The pair worked together for most of the race establishing enough of a lead to fend off early challenges from Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles), Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games.)
Van Aert struggled in the heat and hit another setback after a flat knocked him out of the main chase group halfway through the race.
"I had a flat but also the legs were not what I had hoped for," Van Aert said. "I hope to forget this fast and feel better next week in Wisconsin."
Van der Poel's lead grew to over 50 seconds leaving the Sweeck and Hermans to battle for third place. The pair co-operated for the entire race fearing a late charge from Pauwels who was being tailed by Van der Haar.
"We were chasing all race, but I think we saw that it wasn't possible anymore and we were still riding for second and third on the podium, it was necessary because Pauwels was coming on at the end," Sweeck said. "I think it was a good decision for us to be sure the gap was as big as possible. We worked good together. It makes Quentin a good mate."
Van der Poel won easily with a 42-second gap, and Sweeck outsprinted Hermans for second place. Pauwels finished fourth followed by Van der Haar in fifth.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||1:06:28|
|2||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:00:43|
|3||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:44|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:00:54|
|5||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:58|
|6||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:01:28|
|7||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:43|
|8||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:01:46|
|9||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|10||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:01:59|
|11||Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:07|
|12||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:20|
|13||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:29|
|14||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:02:32|
|15||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:02:43|
|16||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:02:55|
|17||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:03:14|
|18||Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:03:21|
|19||Kerry Werner (USA)||0:03:24|
|20||Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|21||Matthieu Boulo (Fra)|
|22||Steve Chainel (Fra) Team Chazal Canyon||0:03:41|
|23||Stephen Hyde (USA)||0:03:55|
|24||Ian Field (GBr)||0:04:20|
|25||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan - Charles||0:04:33|
|26||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:04:40|
|27||Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing||0:04:42|
|28||Tobin Ortenblad (USA)||0:04:51|
|29||Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Lifecare||0:04:58|
|30||Anthony Clark (USA)||0:05:01|
|31||Maxx Chance (USA)||0:05:16|
|32||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:05:25|
|33||James Driscoll (USA)||0:05:27|
|34||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)||0:05:56|
|35||Andrew Dillman (USA)||0:06:01|
|36||Gage Hecht (USA)||0:06:31|
|37||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:06:58|
|38||Spencer Petrov (USA) Aspire Racing|
|39||Allen Krughoff (USA)|
|40||Jeremy Durrin (USA)|
|41||Curtis White (USA)|
|42||Travis Livermon (USA)|
|43||Nicholas Diniz (Can)|
|44||Lance Haidet (USA)|
|45||Garry Millburn (Aus)|
|46||Craig Richey (Can) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Lifecare|
|47||Isaac Niles (Can)|
|48||Trevor O'Donnell (Can)|
|49||Masaru Nakazato (Jpn)|
|50||Christian Ricci (Can)|
|51||Justin Lindine (USA)|
|DNF||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon|
|DNS||Jarno Trey (Est)|