Skip to main content

Van der Poel wins Flandriencross

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Perhaps fuelled by a decisive mechanical that might have cost him the World Cup victory in Zeven the previous day, Mathieu Van Der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) proved that he is still the man-to-beat in cyclo-cross this year as he rode away with a solo victory at Flandriencross.

The Dutchman made winning look easy, as he has so often done this season, beating Wout Van Aert (Crelan – Charles), who won the World Cup on Saturday, by 33 seconds and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux - Napoleon Games) by 47 seconds.

Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) led through the first corners of the race followed by Van der Poel and Van Aert, closely marking each other.

The undulating, twisty and muddy terrain included a steep run-up that forced gaps between the riders over the top but a core group stuck together that also included Lars Van Der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions), Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions), Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) and Tim Merlier (Crelan – Charles), Kevin Pauwels (Marlux - Napoleon Games), Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Vanthourenhout.

With a time bonus on the line and after the previous day’s jammed chain, Van der Poel took no chances and took the lead over the stairs halfway through the first lap but Sweeck stuck close to his wheel, as did Van Aert. "I started quickly, because I wanted to immediately win the bonus seconds in the second lap," said Van der Poel, who leads the overall standings.

Van der Poel pushed on until no one could hold the quick pace and opened a small gap. Van Aert shot around Sweeck in an attempt to close it down on his own. His effort came up fruitless, however, as the Dutchman gradually added time to his advantage through each subsequent lap.

Van der Poel continued to put pressure on and built his lead out to roughly 17 seconds by the start of the third lap, a gap he more or less maintained through laps four and five. "I was always able to keep the pace high and at the same time keep a little bit of surplus," Van der Poel said. "When Wout was in the background, it was difficult, because on such a course the chance of error was high."

Van Aert and Vanthourenhout were the two nearest chasers but they made no progress in bringing the leader back. Their best efforts only managed to keep Van der Poel’s gap from widening further. 

"I was not completely recovered from yesterday," Van Aert said. "I did not feel well in the first half of the race, I had to settle in a group of pursuers, which was certainly not the intention, but I was able to move away from the rest in that long section along the pond."

It wasn’t long before Van Aert’s furious chase was too much for Vanthourenhout, and the world champion continued on alone in pursuit of Van der Poel bringing the gap down to roughly 12 seconds. 

In the closing lap, the Belgian got stuck over a car tire used to build the man-made stairs on course, but even without the slight mishap, it was doubtful that he could stop his Dutch rival from winning.

Van der Poel rounded the final lap extending his lead to just over half a minute and taking the day’s victory, his 15th of the season, while forcing Van Aert to have to settle for second place.

"I did not make a lot of mistakes, but I did not push fast enough, but I still feel better, but if Mathieu is top, you have to be in good order to threaten him," Van Aert said.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon0:56:08
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles0:00:33
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games0:00:47
4Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:00:51
5Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon0:00:57
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games0:01:05
7Lars van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:15
8Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles0:01:26
9Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice0:01:31
10Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:57
11Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts - Betfirst0:02:18
12Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:02:19
13Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games0:03:04
14Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus0:03:13
15Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Era-Circus0:03:14
16Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:03:28
17Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice0:03:43
18Stephen Hyde (USA)0:04:38
19Jonas Degroote (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex0:04:52
20Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst0:05:02
21Florian Trigo (Fra)0:05:50
22Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice0:06:14
23Gosse Van Der Meer (Ned) Tarteletto - Isorex0:06:58
24Nicolas Pruvost (Fra)0:07:15
25Dario Tielen (Bel)0:08:13
26Yelle Leaerts (Bel)0:08:44
27Edwin De Wit (Bel)- 1 lap
28Jelle De Bock (Bel)- 1 lap
DNFGianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst
DNFJoeri Adams (Bel)
DNFJens Vandekinderen (Bel)

Latest on Cyclingnews