UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Wout Van Aert win U23 race

Wout Van Aert (Belgium) claimed the U23 men’s world cyclo-cross title with a majestic performance in Sunday’s race in Hoogerheide.

The 19-year-old attacked on the opening lap and held the led until the line. He finished 50 seconds clear of Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium), with Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) in third at 1:17.

“I went on the first lap and on every lap the lead grew and grew,” Van Aert said.

“It’s unbelievable and I’m so, so happy. He [van der Poel] was the big favourite and I beat him and that makes it even more beautiful. I finally proved I can do it at a big championship.”

“Yesterday we had three on the podium in the junior race and today it’s two. I think we’re the best team and I’m extremely proud.”

Clear conditions overnight, and the added feature of sand being added to the course, meant that at the start of the U23 race much of the talk centred around how much faster the course might prove to be compared to the previous day.

Van Aert and World Cup winner and Mathieu van der Poel lined up as the favourites having dominating the cross season but it was Toon Aerts (Belgium) who led in the initial stages.

Behind him the Dutch and Belgian teams fought for supremely with Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), Stan Godrie (Netherlands), Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) looking to hold off Vanthourenhout (Belgium), Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) and Van Aert.

With Aerts reeled in Wout Van Aert (Belgium) took his chance, dismounting on one of the inclines as others chose to grind up the slopes in their saddles. The move paced off perfectly and the Belgian quickly built up a lead of 19 seconds by the end of the first lap.

It was now up to the Dutch to counter but Teunissen was already struggling and Mathieu van der Poel looked isolated when Vanthourenhout (Belgium) attacked and broke clear.

Wout Van Aert was only getting quicker, putting in a second lap that was even faster than his first and extending his lead to over 30 seconds.

At 42 seconds were a group containing Laurens Sweeck (Belgium), Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), Stan Godrie (Netherlands) and Aerts. However when Sweeck attacked and moved into third it looked as though Belgium would pick up their second one-two-three of the championships.

With two laps to go to Vanthourenhout was still holding second place at 37 seconds, with Aerts and Sweeck at 1:12, David van der Poel (Netherlands) in 5th and Mathieu van der Poel dropping down to sixth.

The day went from bad to worse for the home nation when David van der Poel tumbled over his handlers but Mathieu van der Poel, his right leg taped up, began the fight back.

With one lap to go he made contact with Aerts and Sweeck and the battle for bronze was back on. For the first time in the race the Belgians were on the back foot as panic looked to set in and Mathieu van der Poel began to find the form that had carried him to the World Cup title.

Aerts was the first to crack, quickly followed by Sweeck but up ahead the race was won, with Wout Van Aert taking the title.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Belgium)0:49:35
2Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium)0:00:50
3Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)0:01:17
4Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)0:01:19
5Toon Aerts (Belgium)0:01:26
6David Van Der Poel (Netherlands)0:02:09
7David Menut (France)0:02:24
8Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)0:02:37
9Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)0:02:44
11Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)0:02:55
12Anthony Turgis (France)0:02:59
13Michael Boros (Czech Republic)0:03:07
14Logan Owen (United States Of America)0:03:14
15Martijn Budding (Netherlands)0:03:24
16Stan Godrie (Netherlands)0:03:32
17Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spain)0:04:03
18Jonas Pedersen (Denmark)0:04:06
19Clement Russo (France)0:04:12
20Fabien Doubey (France)Row 19 - Cell 2
21Gioele Bertolini (Italy)0:04:13
22Clément Venturini (France)0:04:16
23Jakub Skala (Czech Republic)0:04:18
24Curtis White (United States Of America)0:04:20
25Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)0:04:22
26Jens Adams (Belgium)0:04:39
27Matej Lasak (Czech Republic)0:05:06
28Yannick Eckmann (United States Of America)0:05:14
29Severin Saegesser (Switzerland)0:05:20
30Cody Kaiser (United States Of America)0:05:38
31Steven James (Great Britain)0:05:54
32Nicolas Samparisi (Italy)0:05:57
33Lukas Müller (Switzerland)0:06:26
34Tobin Ortenblad (United States Of America)0:06:30
35Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic)0:06:34
36Ondrej Glajza (Slovakia)0:06:40
37Dylan Page (Switzerland)0:06:46
38Lars Forster (Switzerland)0:06:54
39Felix Drumm (Germany)0:07:16
40Michael Van Den Ham (Canada)0:07:28
41 (-1 lap)Ben Sumner (Great Britain)Row 40 - Cell 2
42Yannick Gruner (Germany)Row 41 - Cell 2
43Luc Turchi (Luxembourg)Row 42 - Cell 2
44Lukas Meiler (Germany)Row 43 - Cell 2
45Adam Martin (Great Britain)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Toki Sawada (Japan)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Max Lindenau (Germany)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Martin Eriksson (Sweden)Row 47 - Cell 2
49Kota Yokoyama (Japan)Row 48 - Cell 2
50 (-2 laps)Bartosz Mikler (Poland)Row 49 - Cell 2
51Felipe Orts Lloret (Spain)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Jack Clarkson (Great Britain)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Massimo Morabito (Luxembourg)Row 52 - Cell 2
54Connor Wilson (Canada)Row 53 - Cell 2
55Simon Vozar (Slovakia)Row 54 - Cell 2
56Tom Chapman (Australia)Row 55 - Cell 2
57 (-3 laps)Alexander Meyland (Australia)Row 56 - Cell 2

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