Van Aert strikes in the mud at Essen

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct) wins Superprestige in Gavere

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct) wins Superprestige in Gavere (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) continued his winning streak in the BPost Bank Trophy series, winning a windy fourth round of the Bpost Bank Trophy in Essen, Belgium.

On Saturday afternoon he held off veteran Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) with a late attack and win alone. World champion Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) led the race during the penultimate lap but lost any chance of victory when he wrecked his derailleur.

Van Aert extends his massive bonus in the time-based classification of the BPo-Trophy up to 3:19 on Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) who finished fourth behind young teammate Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in Essen.

“For a long time I wasn’t in a position to win the race. I didn’t feel good and mentally switched to defend my classification. Luckily for us Mathieu had a mechanical which turned the race upside down,” Van Aert told Sporza.

Sven Nys again rode a strong race despite ending his long career this season. Early on he tried to profit from his good start but once Van Aert and Van der Poel bridged up, he switched tactics. While the two young riders pulled hard against the wind he tried to save energy in the wheels. In the final lap the 39 year-old Belgian rider tried in vain to surprise his young compatriot in the final deep-mud section by riding through a pool of water on the inside of the course but the move didn’t work.

“During the race I noticed that some riders were able to pass me on the inside through that section. I played my cards but I came out empty-handed. I lost all speed,” Nys said.

Former cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) rode his only official cyclo-cross race of the season in what is his Belgian hometown. Starting with limited ambitions from fifth row, the Czech avoided the risks and finished in twentieth place after being slowed by flat. None the less he got a massive cheer from his local fans.

After two laps of racing the best riders in the race were already ahead of the pack. Nys profited from a smooth start to take 15 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint in the second lap, just ahead of Van Aert. Van der Poel was third at the sprint, emerging out of the large chase group in the second lap. Young Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) briefly featured in the lead group as well when the pace dropped but he was never in a position to reach out for the victory.

During the following laps Van der Poel put in some accelerations on the muddy but fast course. Van Aert clearly had problems to keep up with the young Dutchman with Nys limiting the damage. During the sixth of nine laps Van der Poel accelerated again. He went smoothly through the mud sections in the second half of the course and quickly gapped his two rivals. His lead grew up to six seconds in the seventh lap with Nys and Van Aert seemingly in a losing position.

Last lap decisive

The race turned around early in the penultimate lap. In one of the few deep-mud section Nys was closing in on Van der Poel, coming back to a handful of seconds. Suddenly the Dutchman came to a standstill near a turn. His rear derailleur had broken off his bike and Van der Poel was forced to shoulder his bike and run on to the pit. While running he dropped from first to seventh position.

“It was very disappointing, especially in that position. It was a situation in which you just want to break everything apart. I still had a fast final lap in my legs,” Van der Poel lamented. “I’ve never encountered this. I rode through that power section instead of running because it’s fine not to get off your bike. Suddenly I felt no resistance. The derailleur is probably still laying in the mud.”

Van Aert and Nys quickly passed Van der Poel and hit the final lap as the new leaders. The first chasers were the Sunweb-duo Kevin Pauwels and Michael Vanthourenhout.

During the final lap Van Aert set a fast pace, keeping Nys in check behind him.

“I wanted to be ahead of him at the barriers where he jumped them. I didn’t want to risk losing 10 metres. In the forest there was no space to pass. In the final muddy section I made good choices in terms of tyre pressure and profile,” Van Aert said.

The 21 year-old gained more traction on the outside of the deep-mud section while Nys lost speed on the inside, just before the asphalted road to the finish.

Van Aert got a gap and won with Nys struggling behind him. Half a minute later Vanthourenhout won the battle for third place as Pauwels crashed late in the race. Vermeersch was fifth ahead of Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate-Murprotec). A disappointed Van der Poel was eighth.

The next round of the BPo-Trophy is held on December 19 in Antwerp, Belgium.


Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel)1:00:12
2Sven Nys (Bel)0:00:07
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:00:29
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel)0:00:35
5Gianni Vermeersch (Bel)0:00:46
6Tom Meeusen (Bel)0:00:48
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel)0:00:58
8Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)0:01:11
9Tim Merlier (Bel)0:01:15
10Corne Van Kessel (Ned)0:01:32
11Julien Taramarcaz (Swi)0:01:37
12David Van Der Poel (Ned)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Jim Aernouts (Bel)0:01:38
14Diether Sweeck (Bel)0:02:23
15Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Joeri Adams (Bel)0:02:31
17Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:02:34
18Twan Van Den Brand (Ned)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Michael Boros (Cze)0:02:35
20Zdenek Stybar (Cze)0:03:02
21Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned)0:03:30
22Vincent Baestaens (Bel)0:03:36
23Rob Peeters (Bel)0:03:40
24Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)0:04:36
25Michael Van Den Ham (Can)0:04:47
26Niels Koyen (Bel)0:04:57
27Jan Denuwelaere (Bel)Row 26 - Cell 2
28Niels Wubben (Ned)Row 27 - Cell 2
29Mark Mcconnell (Can)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Garry Millburn (Aus)Row 29 - Cell 2
31Wouter Goosen (Bel)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Kristaps Kipurs (Lat)Row 31 - Cell 2
DNFPhilipp Walsleben (Ger)Row 32 - Cell 2
DNFThijs Van Amerongen (Ned)Row 33 - Cell 2
DNFRadomir Simunek (Cze)Row 34 - Cell 2


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