Mathieu van der Poel: Second place was the best for me

ANTWERPEN BELGIUM DECEMBER 13 Arrival Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the 43rd Superprestige Cyclocross Gavere 2020 Men Elite Superprestige2021 SPGavere SuperprestigeCX on December 13 2020 in Antwerpen Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Mathieu Van Der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix finsihed second at the 2020 Superprestige Cyclocross Gavere (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Cyclo-cross strongman Mathieu van der Poel has a history of win streaks in his career, going back to his amateur days of 2010-11 when he won all 29 races he started. Last year he won 24 of 25 races, including a third elite world championship, a second European championship and his sixth Dutch title. The only race he didn’t conquer was a third place at Hotondcross last December.

This year, the Alpecin-Fenix rider began an abbreviated 10-event ‘cross calendar, following a break from his road cycling campaign, with a win in the sand at Scheldecross on Saturday. However, the storyline in the usual script leading to his defence of the rainbow jersey had an abrupt twist on Sunday, as Van der Poel would not go two-for-two on the weekend and he finished second to young Briton Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) at Superprestige Gavere.

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