Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) rode a pitch-perfect race to claim his second consecutive European cyclo-cross title Sunday in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. The Dutchman took the lead on lap two and never let it go, despite a late charge from Wout van Aert (Belgium) on the final lap. Laurens Sweeck made it home in third place, giving Belgium two riders on the podium.
Van der Poel came into the European Championships after a disastrous performance at the Koppenbergcross earlier in the week. However, he said that there was no panic and he stuck to his guns before the race.
“It was a good race. After Koppenberg, I stayed calm and did what I had planned and the feeling was good today," he said. "The course here suits me. I rode it last year and it suits me well. I think for now the Olympics is the future. In 2020, I will be focused on the mountain bike and then maybe I will ride some more road after that.”
The men’s riders raced nine laps over the same technical circuit in 's-Hertogenbosch that the women had a short while earlier. It was Van Aert who got off to the best start, building up a solid advantage in the opening part of the first lap. However, Van der Poel dug in and caught up with Van Aert by the time they hit the start of the second lap.
Anyone hoping to see a duel between the top two male cyclo-cross riders of the moment would be disappointed. Not long after he had joined forces with the world champion, Van der Poel would strike out on his own. Van Aert was pushing and nearly came a cropper as he rounded a corner in one of the more technical parts of the course.
Despite his efforts, Van der Poel kept pulling away from Van Aert. Meanwhile, a chase group of four riders formed behind the Belgian. Three of those behind were his teammates Sweeck, Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout, with the Netherland’s Lars van der Haar completing the group.
By the time the riders had completed four laps, Van der Poel led by 16 seconds and that had increased to 25 three laps later. The front two positions did not change after lap two, but there was a strong battle between the chasers for the final spot on the podium. Vanthourenhout was the first to try and bridge the gap to his teammate but he would be caught and passed by Sweeck. Aerts and Van der Haar were chasing in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Van der Poel started the final lap with a 22-second advantage and held firm until the line to retain his European title.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands)||1:02:35|
|2||Wout van Aert (Belgium)||0:00:14|
|3||Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)||0:00:18|
|4||Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium)||0:00:30|
|5||Toon Aerts (Belgium)||0:00:33|
|6||Lars dan der Haar (Netherlands)||0:00:37|
|7||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)||0:01:08|
|8||Quinten Hermans (Belgium)||0:01:13|
|9||Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)||0:01:15|
|10||Daan Soete (Belgium)||0:01:16|
|11||Tim Merlier (Belgium)||0:01:24|
|12||Corne van Kessel (Netherlands)||0:01:56|
|13||David van der Poel (Netherlands)||0:01:57|
|14||Steve Chainel (France)||0:02:00|
|15||Michael Boroš (Czech Republic)||0:02:33|
|16||Sieben Wouters (Netherlands)||0:02:42|
|17||Stan Godrie (Netherlands)||0:02:44|
|18||Gioele Bertolini (Italy)||0:03:20|
|19||David Menut (France)||0:03:28|
|20||Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)||0:03:32|
|21||Timon Rüegg (Switzerland)||0:03:34|
|22||Joshua Dubau (France)||0:03:47|
|23||Matthieu Boulo (France)||0:03:50|
|24||Severin Sägesser (Switzerland)||0:03:51|
|25||Marek Konwa (Poland)||0:03:54|
|26||Tomáš Paprstka (Czech Republic)||0:03:55|
|27||Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic)||0:04:33|
|28||Simon Zahner (Switzerland)||0:04:49|
|29||Gosse van der Meer (Netherlands)||0:05:30|
|30||Fabien Canal (France)||0:06:05|
|31||Ondrej Glajza (Slovakia)|
|32||Martin Haring (Slovakia)|
|33||Henrik Jansson (Sweden)|
|34||David Eriksson (Sweden)|
|35||Manuel Müller (Germany)|
|36||Martin Eriksson (Sweden)|
|37||Kenneth Hansen (Denmark)|
|38||Joachim Parbo (Denmark)|
|39||Jacob Lindsel (Denmark)|
|DNF||Marcel Meisen (Germany)|