Mathieu van der Poel escaped serious injury despite a nasty crash in the DVV Trophy race in Loenhout on Thursday. The Beobank-Corendon rider accelerated into a fast downhill section on the second to last lap, but hit the crest of the descent with too much speed and lost control, crashing hard down the slope and not moving for several minutes.
The 21-year-old was treated by medics at the scene and transported by stretcher from the course to hospital. He later announced that he was OK on Twitter.
There had been a regrouping after an early attack by Van der Poel was neutralised, and on the penulimate lap, Toon Aerts surged and his teammate Tom Meeusen allowed a gap to open to try and give Aerts and advantage. Van der Poel sensed the tactic and accelerated to pass Meeusen, but had too much speed going over the crest and crashed.
He was quickly attended to by the medics, father Adrie van der Poel and manager Christophe Roodhooft, and his competitors expressed their concern after the race.
"I want to apologize to Mathieu," Meeusen said. "I wanted to offer a gap to Toon. Mathieu passed me at such a high speed that I was surprised. Of course Mathieu wanted to get between Toon and myself, that's why he flew over the climb."
"It was obvious Tom was trying to offer Toon a gap," eventual winner Wout Van Aert said. "Mathieu was too enthusiastic to try and block the attempt. When he crashed I saw straight away that it was painful. If you stay on the ground it's never a good sign."