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UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: Mathieu van der Poel dominates in Hulst

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Dutch Mathieu Van Der Poel celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the mens elite race of the Vestingcross cyclocross cycling event stage 4 of 5 of the World Cup competition in Hulst The Netherlands on January 3 2021 Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN BELGA AFP Belgium OUT Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGAAFP via Getty Images

Van der Poel flexes his bicep as he crosses the line (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Podium Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Thomas Pidcock of United Kingdom Team Trinity Racing Celebration Mask Covid safety measures during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

The final podium – Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Mud Detail view during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Van der Poel fights through the thick mud (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

The world champion tackling an uphill section (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Michael Vanthourenhout of Belgium and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma Mud Detail view during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

World Cup leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Laurens Sweeck of Belgium and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Van Aert in the mud (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Arrival Thomas Pidcock of United Kingdom Team Trinity Racing Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Mens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Pidcock crosses the line in third place (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took his eighth win of the 2020-21 cyclo-cross season in Hulst, winning the penultimate round of the UCI World Cup at a canter.

The Dutchman went back-to-back this weekend after his Gullegem win, beating World Cup leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) into second place by 1:31. Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) rounded out the podium a further 18 second back after a hard battle with the Belgian.

"It's almost a home win," Van der Poel said after the race. "There are very few races in the Netherlands so it's super nice to have one here today. I enjoyed the race and had some really good legs today so that helps.

"If you see last week, I was almost three minutes behind Van Aert so I don't think it means anything [for the Worlds]. It's the shape of the day which determines the gaps a little bit. I felt really strong today and I'm glad I can finish my first block of races in this kind of shape."

Van der Poel had been in total command of the race since the second lap, where he powered away from the peloton with no answer from any of his rivals, including Van Aert, who was within eight seconds at the GP Sven Nys on New Year's Day and beat the Dutchman by 2:49 in the thick mud of Dendermonde at the previous World Cup round. 

Van Aert suffered a mix-up in the pits on that second lap, his mechanic missing a bike change and costing the Belgian precious seconds, while Van der Poel and Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) were out front.

By the end of the lap, Van der Poel was alone ahead of a chase group consisting of Van Aert, Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), while Pidcock quickly joined them. 

Vanthourenhout's teammate Eli Iserbyt, who was returning from an elbow injury suffered at the Boxing Day Superprestige race in Zolder, wasn't up there, having been forced to abandon after a fall on the first lap.

Out front, Van der Poel was comfortable in the lead, growing a 20-second gap on lap three to a minute's advantage at the midway point. Van Aert pushed on behind, but had no way to catch his rival, while only Pidcock could keep up with his pace.

Eventually, Pidcock fell back, too, hanging in with the Jumbo-Visma man until the final lap of the hour-long race. By that point, Van der Poel was home and dry, flexing a bicep as he rolled across the line for another win.

With one round to go – in Overijse on January 24 – Van Aert keeps the lead of the World Cup rankings, knowing that finishing second place or higher will be enough to secure overall victory. He sits on 125 points to Van der Poel's 110, with 40, 30 and 22 points going to the podium finishers. Vanthourenhout still has a mathematical chance of victory too – he lies third on 106 points.

Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 1:05:27
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:31
3Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:01:49
4Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:02:41
5Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:03:07
6Lars Van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:03:19
7Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans 0:03:32
8Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:03:37
9Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:04:12
10Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Tormans 0:04:46
11Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:04:54
12Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Credishop-Fristads 0:05:01
13Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM 0:05:07
14Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:05:11
15Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:05:14
16Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans 0:06:04
17Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:06:24
18Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
19Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions
20Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing
21Curtis White (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld
22Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
23Timon Rüegg (Swi) Cross Team Legendre
24David Menut (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
25Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads
26Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers
27Ivan Feijoo Alberte (Spa) Nest-Skoda Alecar
28David Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
29Michael Boroš (Cze)
30Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-Gsport
31Ugo Ananie (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
32Valentin Guillaud (Fra)
33Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nest-Skoda Alecar
34Michael Van den Ham (Can)
35Mario Junquera san Millan (Spa)
36Mathieu Morichon (Fra)
37Luke Verburg (Ned)
38Maik Van der Heijden (Ned)
39Aurélien Philibert (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team
40Nicolas Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist p/b Brenta Brakes
41Mickaël Crispin (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
42Stan Godrie (Ned)
43Tom Mainguenaud (Fra)
44Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist p/b Brenta Brakes
45Arthur Tropardy (Fra)
46Cédric Pries (Lux)
47David Conroy (Irl)
48Jonathan Anderson (USA)
49Andrew Giniat (USA)
50Jules Van Kempen (USA)
DNFThomas Mein (GBr) Tormans
DNFEli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.


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