Elite Men: Zonhoven
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) won the second round of the Superprestige, conquering the famous sandpit at Zonhoven and leaving his rivals struggling. Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) finished 21 second back, with third place going to Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) at 35 seconds.
It is van der Poel’s second victory at the race in two years, and his second win in two days after Saturday’s Poldercross. The Dutchman currently seems unbeatable, leaving his many Belgian rivals frustrated and searching for answers.
An uncharacteristically slow start for van der Poel saw him back in sixth place on the opening lap as Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) pushed the pace from the off and lead down the first, hectic drop-off into the sandpit. Van Aert sensed the early opportunity and soon took Sweeck and Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Fidea) with him to open up a ten second gap on van der Poel at the end of the first lap.
The lead wouldn’t last though, and any thought that van der Poel might struggle was swiftly dismissed as the Dutchman made the catch on lap three. Nevertheless, it looked as though the huge crowds that had turned out in the warm weather would be treated to a big battle for supremacy.
Van der Poel had other ideas, attacking the uphill-downhill sandpit section on lap four. The gap was immediate and decisive; by the end of the lap he was 20 seconds up on Van Aert and on his way to victory.
It wasn’t a flawless race for the Dutch champion as a crash on a tight corner midway through the hour slowed his progress for a handful of seconds. He almost crashed on a descent into the sandpit too, using his bike skills to stay upright and avoid any embarrassment infront of the huge crowd.
Behind Van Aert also had problems. He was kept busy dealing with pressure from van der Haar and, surprisingly, David van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon).
The final quarter of an hour saw that fight become a two-man battle as David van der Poel fell back. Van der Haar stuck around - clearly on good form having somehow beaten Mathieu last weekend. On the pe-nultimate lap he made his move, passing Van Aert in the thick sand but the World Champion struck back in the closing stages to claim second place.
Out front, van der Poel was untouchable, enjoying the applause of the crowd and even pulling a trick jump on the final lap.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||1:07:07|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:00:22|
|3||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:36|
|4||David van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:01:16|
|5||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:01:44|
|6||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:55|
|7||Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:02:17|
|8||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:41|
|9||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|10||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus||0:02:43|
|11||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:03:20|
|12||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:03:52|
|13||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:04:14|
|14||Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:04:41|
|15||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:04:46|
|16||Rob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:05:11|
|17||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts - Betfirst|
|18||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions|
|19||Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan - Charles|
|20||Vincent Baestaens (Bel)|
|21||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games|
|22||Gioele Bertolini (Ita)|
|23||Sander Elen (Bel)|
|24||Martin Eriksson (Swe)|
|25||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned)|
|26||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel)|
|27||David Eriksson (Swe)|
|28||Dries Pauwels (Bel)|
|29||Niels Koyen (Bel)|
|30||Yelle Leaerts (Bel)|
|31||Grzegorz Grabarek (Pol)|
|32||Andrew Juiliano (USA)|
|DNF||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games|
|DNF||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)|
|DNF||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games|
|DNF||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|DNF||Joeri Adams (Bel)|
|DNF||Sergio Ivan Fernandez Rodriguez (Spa)|
|DNF||Henrik Jansson (Swe)|
|DSQ||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned)|
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