Mathieu Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) shook off his shoulder pain with a commanding win in the Koksijde sand. The 22 year-old Dutch champion won his third consecutive World Cup round on a windy Sunday afternoon on the course next to the North Sea in Belgium.
Compatriot Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) was runner-up at 40 seconds, holding off world champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles).
Van Aert was able to keep up with Van der Poel during the opening lap before starting to lose ground in the second of the nine laps. After multiple Koksijde wins in the youth categories, it was the first win in Koksijde in the Elite Men category for Mathieu van der Poel. Knee problems and last year’s storm held him back a few years.
“It was something I was looking forward to. The previous year the race was cancelled. I really like sand courses so it was so much fun to ride out here and take the win today,” said Van der Poel, who seemingly rode flawlessly through the multiple sand sections to complete a great solo.
“I started ahead of the bunch. I knew it was the best way because you can do your own thing, ride your own lines. It’s also a little bit difficult because you’re always riding in the sand first and all the traces are gone then. Sometimes, that’s hard but I enjoyed riding here.”
Coming into the third World Cup round, a shoulder injury sustained at Saturday’s Superprestige round in Boom seemed to hold back the chances of Mathieu van der Poel. He lined up at the start line with his right arm taped up with a tattoo-design.
“My shoulder didn’t bother me much. My back bothered me more. The legs were more than okay. In a sand race like today it’s mostly important to get well through the sand sections and that worked out,” Van der Poel said.
In the second lap, Van Aert lost ground in every sand section. He started to struggle to close down the small gaps on the following rolling sections. Soon after, the custom red-white painted Stevens bike was out of sight. “I had a special bike for today. Christoph [Roodhooft, BD] prepared that one for me. It’s something I like a lot and I think he did a good job,” Van der Poel said.
Van Aert rides backwards
While Van der Poel kept extending his lead, Van Aert dropped back into a group with Sweeck and Van der Haar. Further back, six riders were battling for fifth place. During the sixth of nine laps, Van Aert clocked the fastest lap of the race to power away from Sweeck and Van der Haar, coming back to half a minute from Van der Poel. The latter answered by beating that lap time by 0.3 seconds.
Anyway, Van Aert seemed to have second place in the pocket when hitting the penultimate lap. Suddenly, he encountered a mechanical problem and saw Sweeck flying by. Van Aert was quickly back on his bike and immediately passed Sweeck again. In the same lap, Van Aert punctured next to the pit area. He turned around, rode against the race direction, where a flabbergasted Sweeck and Van der Haar avoided riding into the world champion, before entering the pit area to swap bikes. It was probably a legal move but one might wonder if he shouldn’t have been more cautious not to obstruct his adversaries Sweeck and Van der Haar.
The duo hit the final lap with a lead of 10 seconds on Van Aert. Sweeck didn’t have enough left in his tank to hold off the world champion but Van der Haar held on to his unexpected second place.
David van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) beat five Belgian riders in the battle for fifth place, holding off Daan Soete (Telenet Fidea Lions) in a two-man sprint at 1:30 from his brother. Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions) was seventh ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games), Belgian champion Elite w/o contract Vincent Baestaens and Jens Adams (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice). Baestaens was by far the oldest rider in the top-10 with his age of 28.
European champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) was 11th after a fast start. Men of the old guard like Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) fail to keep up with the young wolves nowadays.
In the World Cup standings Van der Poel totals the maximum of 240 points, extending his lead over Sunday’s fourth-placed Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) up to 80 points. Wout Van Aert is seventh in the overall standings at 90 points.
“I’m lucky in a way that in the USA the placings moved around a lot. That way, I’ve got a good bonus. I will not say that it’s in the pocket but if I can stay out of trouble I might be able to get my first overall World Cup win in the Elite rankings," said Van der Poel
Next month, the fourth World Cup round is held in Bogense, Denmark.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||1:02:41|
|2||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:39|
|3||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:00:50|
|4||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:01:15|
|5||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:01:29|
|6||Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:30|
|7||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:47|
|8||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:02:00|
|9||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)||0:02:12|
|10||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:02:18|
|11||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:27|
|12||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:02:36|
|13||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:03:13|
|14||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:34|
|15||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Beobank-Corendon||0:03:47|
|16||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus|
|17||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:03:48|
|18||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Era-Circus||0:03:51|
|19||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:04:10|
|20||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:04:18|
|21||Yorben Van Tichelt (Bel) Era-Circus||0:04:39|
|22||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:04:47|
|23||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:04:51|
|24||Steve Chainel (Fra) Team Chazal Canyon||0:04:56|
|25||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:05:26|
|26||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:05:35|
|27||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned)||0:05:44|
|28||Simon Zahner (Swi)||0:05:46|
|29||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|30||Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||0:05:57|
|31||Ian Field (GBr)||0:06:15|
|32||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Ginestar - Delikia||0:06:23|
|33||Fabien Canal (Fra)||0:06:33|
|34||Gosse Van Der Meer (Ned) Tarteletto - Isorex||0:06:41|
|35||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)||0:06:44|
|36||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibañez (Spa)||0:06:47|
|37||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan - Charles||0:07:20|
|LAP||Matthieu Boulo (Fra)|
|LAP||Alois Falenta (Fra)|
|LAP||Severin Sägesser (Swi)|
|LAP||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned)|
|LAP||Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)|
|LAP||Anthonin Didier (Fra)|
|LAP||Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita)|
|LAP||Jeremy Durrin (USA)|
|LAP||Andrew Juiliano (USA)|
|LAP||Glenn Kinning (Irl)|
|LAP||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|LAP||Yannick Mayer (Ger)|