Mathieu van der Poel stormed to a third straight cyclo-cross world championship on Sunday, winning his fourth career title at the age of just 26. On the sandy beach of Oostende, he outrode his lifelong rival Wout van Aert, who finished in second place at 37 seconds.
With the temperatures and rainfall perfectly in line with a traditional Belgian January, and the day's terrain featuring mud, grass, long stretches of sand, artificial fly-overs and even a riders-choice detour via the North Sea, equipment choice on the day was going to be crucial.
After an early Van der Poel crash - during which he reportedly broke his saddle - it was a Van Aert puncture that swung the race in the reigning champion's favour, and once alone, he settled into the race-dominating time-trial rhythm that we've seen so many times already this season.
Much discussion has surrounded Van Aert's bike choice since the turn of the year when his Bianchi Zolder CX was given a lick of sponsor-friendly paint in the absence of a Cervelo CX bike to ride. However, despite his countless minutes of TV time, Van der Poel's bike has gone largely unnoticed.
The bike in question is the Canyon Inflite CF SLX, complete with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Dura-Ace tubular wheels. His choice of tyres comes from FMB and feature a reasonably low tread profile with a slightly more aggressive shoulder tread for cornering grip, they measure the UCI-permitted maximum 33c.
As has become more widely adopted this season, Van der Poel opted for a 2X chainset, with Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 groupset powering the shifting and braking. Despite not running a head unit, Van der Poel's bikes were fitted with power meters, which were most likely paired to a smart watch.
Perhaps most controversially, however, was Van der Poel's order of attire. Going against his usual tact, the new world champion opted for socks UNDER his leg warmers.
Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Inflite CF SLX - specifications
- Frame: Canyon Inflite CF SLX
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9120 disc brake caliper
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9120 disc brake caliper
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 disc
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 series
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 series
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P with power meter
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace C60 tubular
- Tyres: FMB (model unspecified)
- Handlebars: Canyon H11 cockpit (410mm)
- Bar Tape: Selle Italia
- Stem: Canyon H11 cockpit (110mm)
- Pedals: Shimamo XTR
- Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
- Seatpost: Canyon S13
- Bottle cages: N/A
- Cycling computer: N/a
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