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

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.

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#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-BingoalRow 17 - Cell 2
19Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek LionsRow 18 - Cell 2
20Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity RacingRow 19 - Cell 2
21Curtis White (USA) Cannondale-CyclocrossworldRow 20 - Cell 2
22Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
23Timon Rüegg (Swi) Cross Team LegendreRow 22 - Cell 2
24David Menut (Fra) Cross Team LegendreRow 23 - Cell 2
25Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-FristadsRow 24 - Cell 2
26Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes ContainersRow 25 - Cell 2
27Ivan Feijoo Alberte (Spa) Nest-Skoda AlecarRow 26 - Cell 2
28David Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-FenixRow 27 - Cell 2
29Michael Boroš (Cze) Row 28 - Cell 2
30Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-GsportRow 29 - Cell 2
31Ugo Ananie (Fra) Cross Team LegendreRow 30 - Cell 2
32Valentin Guillaud (Fra) Row 31 - Cell 2
33Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nest-Skoda AlecarRow 32 - Cell 2
34Michael Van den Ham (Can) Row 33 - Cell 2
35Mario Junquera san Millan (Spa) Row 34 - Cell 2
36Mathieu Morichon (Fra) Row 35 - Cell 2
37Luke Verburg (Ned) Row 36 - Cell 2
38Maik Van der Heijden (Ned) Row 37 - Cell 2
39Aurélien Philibert (Fra) Ardennes Cross TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Nicolas Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist p/b Brenta BrakesRow 39 - Cell 2
41Mickaël Crispin (Fra) Cross Team LegendreRow 40 - Cell 2
42Stan Godrie (Ned) Row 41 - Cell 2
43Tom Mainguenaud (Fra) Row 42 - Cell 2
44Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist p/b Brenta BrakesRow 43 - Cell 2
45Arthur Tropardy (Fra) Row 44 - Cell 2
46Cédric Pries (Lux) Row 45 - Cell 2
47David Conroy (Irl) Row 46 - Cell 2
48Jonathan Anderson (USA) Row 47 - Cell 2
49Andrew Giniat (USA) Row 48 - Cell 2
50Jules Van Kempen (USA) Row 49 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Mein (GBr) TormansRow 50 - Cell 2
DNFEli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-BingoalRow 51 - Cell 2

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