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Van der Poel beats Van Aert to seal Superprestige success

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Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) celebrates his Superprestige success

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) celebrates his Superprestige success
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) powers through the sand

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) powers through the sand
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions)

Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus)

Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) on the podium

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Run guys, run!

Run guys, run!
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There were still huge crowds despite being so late in the season

There were still huge crowds despite being so late in the season
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The final Superprestige was a tough day out

The final Superprestige was a tough day out
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The sand made the riders hurt

The sand made the riders hurt
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus)

Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) takes off

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) takes off
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) gets some air

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) gets some air
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Meeusen takes off

Tom Meeusen takes off
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kevin Pauwels takes the jump

Kevin Pauwels takes the jump
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The steps were a key point in the race

The steps were a key point in the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The course was technical

The course was technical
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) takes centre stage on the podium

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) takes centre stage on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) seals the 2017 Superprestige title

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) seals the 2017 Superprestige title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) wins yet again

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) wins yet again
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The sand was the decisive part of the course

The sand was the decisive part of the course
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) fights in the sand

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) fights in the sand
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincent Baestaens took an early lead

Vincent Baestaens took an early lead
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon)

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) distances rival Wout Van Aert

Mathieu van der Poel(Beobank-Corendon) distances rival Wout Van Aert
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The sand flew everywhere

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

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) on a run-up

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) on a run-up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The crowds were out to see Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)

The crowds were out to see Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) opens a gap on Van Aert

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) opens a gap on Van Aert
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Van Der Haar (Telenet Fidea)

Lars Van Der Haar (Telenet Fidea)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)

World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) was second in Middelkerke

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) was second in Middelkerke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) got the better of rival and new world champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) in the final round of the Superprestige series in Middelkerke and so secured overall victory in the season-long race series. Van der Poel won seven of the eight Superprestige races, falling one point short of the maximum 120 points.

In a sub-hour race on Saturday afternoon, Van der Poel rode away from Van Aert halfway the technical race and finished twenty seconds ahead of his archrival. Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus) was third at half a minute.

Van der Poel made victory look easy in Middelkerke, savouring his Superprestige victory.

“Before the race I said that I love to do courses like this one. You just have to do your own thing. If you’re good enough then the gaps will come eventually,” Van der Poel told Telenet Play Sports immediately after his win.

“It’s great to win a classification this season. Eight out of eight would’ve been nice but I’m very pleased anyway,” Van der Poel added, before getting ready for a cyclo-cross gala television show in the Middelkerke casino.

Wout Van Aert was able to deal with yet another second place behind Van der Poel in the Superprestige. The Belgian rider won one round in Francorchamps and then finished runner-up in every other round. In Middelkerke, he struggled to produce a fight.

“It’s the reality. It’s better to finish second than nowhere at all. It wasn’t about details on this course. Mathieu was better,” Van Aert told Telenet Play Sports.

Van Aert started the final Superprestige round with a deficit of only five points, with fifteen points on offer for the winner. “He’s the deserved winner of the series with seven wins. That’s quite unique. I knew it would be hard to move ahead of him today,” Van Aert added.

A fast start

Van Aert took the best start in long start in Middelkerke, leading into the challenging course just behind the North Sea sand dunes.

He was leading ahead of impressive non-elite rider Vincent Baestaens and Van der Poel. Baestaens crashed halfway the opening lap and soon started fading back. However, after the opening lap there were still nine riders together.

Van der Poel accelerated a first time during the second lap and half a lap later there were only four riders left in front. They were Van der Poel, Van Aert, Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions) and local rider Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-Verona). Van der Poel accelerated a second time on a slippery off-camber section and again at the barriers. He started the third of seven laps with a small bonus over Van Aert, Van Kessel and Vermeersch. Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) followed a few seconds further back while Laurens Sweeck trailed the leader by fifteen seconds.

Van Aert kept working to come back and with a good passing of Van Aert and Van Kessel in the long sand section, the group was back together.

“I wasn’t going too well in the sand during the first laps. It was harder than during the warm-up because they cleaned it up. Later, you save some energy in order to get better through the sand,” Van der Poel explained.

Van Kessel and Vermeersch got dropped in the third lap, with Van der Haar moving into third place at seven seconds from the two leaders. During the fourth lap, Van der Poel kept taking the initiative and slowly rode away from Van Aert. This time, Van Aert was unable to close the gap and it grew by five seconds lap after lap.

“Especially during the second half of the race my tank was empty. A few good passages through the sand allowed me to come back on Mathieu but I was never able to dominate. I never believed that I could win today,” Van Aert admitted.

Van der Haar, Vermeersch and Sweeck were battling for third place. The three riders hit the penultimate lap together at half a minute from the leader, twenty seconds from Van Aert, with sixth-placed Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Lions) at 25 seconds from them. Sweeck made his move in the penultimate lap, Van der Haar tried to hang on but had to settle for fourth place.

Third place sweet for Sweeck

Sweeck was pleased with his ninth third place of the season, equalling Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games). Sweeck finished third overall in the final Superprestige standings with 92 points, twenty more than Pauwels who had an off day in Middelkerke.

“The sand was important today. You could gain ten seconds with a good passage but you could also kill yourself there. I’m pleased that I can confirm my third place overall with a podium here. I missed a podium result in the World Cup due to illness so I’m glad with this one,” Sweeck told Telenet Play Sports.

Vermeersch was pleased with fifth place, his best result in the Superprestige series this season. Meeusen remained in sixth place. Corné van Kessel struggled in the final laps and was passed by Baestaens for seventh place. Laurens’ brother, Diether Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus), finished in ninth place at two minutes from the winner. Veteran Klaas Vantornout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was tenth and finishes sixth overall.

The C1-race in Middelkerke was the last round of the three major cyclo-cross series. Sunday’s race in Hulst, Netherlands and next weekend’s Belgian races in Leuven and Oostmalle are the final UCI-races of the season.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon0:56:26
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice0:00:20
3Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus0:00:30
4Lars van der Haar (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:37
5Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts0:00:59
6Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:25
7Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon0:01:46
8Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:55
9Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus0:01:58
10Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games0:02:03
11Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:02:06
12Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Beobank-Corendon0:02:11
13Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice0:02:15

 

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