Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) won the rain-soaked eighth and final round of the DVV Trophy in Lille, Belgium on Saturday. The 22-year-old came away with the victory after a race-long duel with world champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles), who won the sprint for second place at short distance. It was more than enough for home rider Van Aert to claim his third consecutive overall win in the DVV Trophy series. Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Lions) claimed the final podium spot at the recreational park in Lille.
"It was a battle on the razor's edge. It was great fun. Before the race I was asked in which way I liked winning the most and this is it," Van der Poel said in the post-race flash interview with Sporza. The season is nearly over and Van der Poel is up to 18 victories.
"It would be nice to get up to 20 wins amongst the pro riders. That's what you dream of as a little boy," Van der Poel added.
For eight laps, Van der Poel and Van Aert were pushing each other to the limit, making up for the disappointing world championships race of last weekend. This time, no mechanical problems bothered the riders and on the fast course it was hard to create gaps. Van der Poel didn't mind and tried anyway to create gaps straight from the start. After one lap on full gas, Van Aert was trailing his Dutch rival by five seconds with Tom Meeusen marking his wheel. A few moments later, Van der Poel's first attack ended when he overhit a corner and missed a fly-over. The pace dropped and during the third lap six riders were featuring in front: Van der Poel, Van Aert, Meeusen and Telenet Fidea Lions teammates Lars van der Haar and Corné van Kessel and Marlux-Napoleon Games' Kevin Pauwels.
In the following two laps, Van der Poel was putting Van Aert in the hurt box, probably hurting himself and the others too. Just before reaching the finishing straight of the circuit, Van der Poel would gap Van Aert at a technical section of twists and turns. Each time, Van der Poel went full gas on the road and forced Van Aert to chase in the first sections of the following lap. At the end of the sixth lap, Van der Poel ended a long acceleration. It allowed Van Aert, Meeusen and Van der Haar to bridge back up; Pauwels was at short distance. Once on the finishing straight again, Van der Haar blasted away and again Van Aert was leading the chase.
Van der Haar was caught back halfway through the penultimate lap but powered away again in the sand. This time, Van Aert bluffed and looked at Van der Poel. The latter moved forward and close the gap.
The final lap would decide the race in Lille. Meeusen won the first battle and reached the first sand section in the lead. The pace dropped on the singletrack section and Pauwels bridged back up. Halfway through the final lap, Van der Poel and Van Aert passed Meeusen, but not without trouble.
"To pass Tom I rode outside the ideal line and slipped away, nearly taking Mathieu down unintentionally. I did move into the lead," Van Aert said.
Van der Poel was riding in second place and that wasn't where he wanted to be. At a slow twisting section with 180-degree corners, Van Aert rode on the ideal line while Van der Poel opted to run. "I wanted to be in front where Wout passed me because from there it's all singletrack. There was a second point though at that tree where it was possible to pass, I learned from the women's race that there's nothing you can do when you're riding there", Van der Poel said.
A few moment later, Van Aert lost some speed in a sharp turn and Van der Poel was gone. "I was put to sleep in those corners where Mathieu was running by. It was my own fault. Those corners are so sharp. If you're not right on someone's wheel, the leader is always benefiting. I wasn't in front and then made a mistake. It was all ruined," Van Aert said.
Van der Poel had time to celebrate his third victory of the season in the DVV Trophy series. Van Aert narrowly won the sprint for second place ahead of Meeusen in third, Pauwels in fourth and Van der Haar in fifth.
"That duel where Mathieu and Wout nearly crashed wasn't in my favour as the others bridged back up behind me and a sprint was coming up. Otherwise I had more chances for second place. Mathieu and Wout were simply better. I deserved the final podium spot but I had to work very hard for it," Meeusen told Sporza.
He added that teammate Van der Haar's attack didn't benefit him, as he wanted to recover rather than force the others to chase. Van Kessel was sixth at 42 seconds. Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) held off Gianni Vermeersch for seventh place.
Van Aert's second-place ride secured his position as the clear winner in the final time-based classification of the DVV Trophy. Pauwels held on to his second place over teammate Michael Vanthourenhout in Lille, finishing at 3:25 from Van Aert, with Vanthourenhout in third at 4:13.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||1:02:40|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:00:04|
|3||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games|
|5||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin|
|6||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:42|
|7||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:01:01|
|8||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts||0:01:03|
|9||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:01:10|
|10||David Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon|
|11||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:01:13|
|12||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:24|
|13||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:01:35|
|14||Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:01:59|
|15||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) ERA-Circus||0:02:07|
|16||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:02:13|
|17||Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:23|
|18||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Team Kuota Lotto||0:02:36|
|19||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Beobank-Corendon||0:02:45|
|20||Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:03:04|
|21||Joeri Adams (Bel) Kalas-NNOF||0:03:15|
|22||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:37|
|23||Michael Boros (Cze) ERA-Circus||0:03:41|
|24||Braam Merlier (Bel)||0:03:50|
|25||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas-NNOF||0:03:52|
|26||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:03:56|
|27||Stijn Huys (Bel)||0:04:09|
|28||Yorben Van Tichelt (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:04:15|
|29||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)||0:04:18|
|30||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) MMR CX Team||0:04:19|
|31||Dario Tielen (Bel)||0:04:33|
|32||Onno Verheyen (Bel)||0:04:42|
|33||Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com||0:05:05|
|34||Michael Van Den Ham (Can)||0:05:39|
|35||Jeremy Martin (Can)||0:05:42|
|36||Kevin Cant (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:06:35|
|37||Antonin Marecaille (Fra)||0:06:41|
|38||Kerry Werner (USA)||0:07:18|
|39||Aitor Hernandez (Spa)||0:07:32|
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