Mathieu van der Poel sailed to his 20th victory of the cyclo-cross season, winning the Superprestige round in Diegem on Sunday evening. But the European champion missed his start and had to chase through the bunch, then had a mid-race scare when he collided with a course marshal and crashed.
The crash allowed Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) to move into the lead for a time, but Van der Poel shook off the incident and got back ahead of the Belgian to take the win. Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) was third.
"I do not blame the man," Van der Poel said on PlaySports after the race. He could be seen rubbing his neck after the fall. "I first saw the man standing on the right, I thought he would stay there, but he doubted and went to the left. I banged my head and felt my neck cracking, my neck folded completely double, which will be stiff tomorrow. "
The marshal explained on PlaySports that he was going to retrieve a pair of glasses that spectators had picked up from another rider and lost track of the race. Van der Poel said he understood. "He did not do that on purpose, but it is a pity that it happened because I did have some trouble to find the right rhythm again."
"I'm happy to win here again, I like to race in Diegem, I'm unbeaten and happy to go to the new year, or if I can win all eight Superprestige races, that would be fun," Van der Poel said.