Van Aert captures World Cup win in Koksijde

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Cycling Team) made a smashing, winning debut in the elite men's category of the World Cup by soloing for more than half the race in the sand of Koksijde, Belgium on Saturday afternoon.

During the second round of the UCI World Cup the young Belgian rider, 20, held off Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon) by 41 seconds and fellow youngster Mathieu van der Poel (Giant-Shimano), who was almost caught by a strong group of chasers who crossed the line three seconds later. Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) rode an anonymous race through the Belgian dunes, finishing 15th.

Just before crossing the line, Van Aert hopped off and back onto his bike, copying the finish move from Paul Herygers and Niels Albert at the 1994 and 2012 World Championships in Koksijde. Van Aert also won the Koppenbergcross earlier this season. “I rate this one a little higher, especially because of the way I did it. I got away quickly and during the last lap I was able to enjoy it,” Van Aert said.

Pauwels is now leading the World Cup standings with 140 points, 25 points ahead of Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon). Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) was leading the standings after his win in the opening round in Valkenburg in October, however, he was feverish and did not race in Koksijde, dropping to eighth overall.

“The World Cup jersey was the most important goal today. It’s also good Mathieu finished in between me and the rest,” Pauwels said. “The overall win is my ambition now.”

Younger cyclo-crossers come to the forefront in Koksijde

The spectacular victory from Van Aert concluded a race which was dominated by the young wolves of cyclo-cross. During the first three laps several under-23 riders were riding in front of the field and a little later the two spearheads of the new generation took off. Behind Van Aert and van der Poel, the usual suspects needed time to get through traffic and reach the front of the main group, or like Pauwels, who just missed the moment.

“I didn’t know there were two guys in front. Van Aert had 35 seconds by the time I found out. There were so many riders in the group I was in,” Pauwels said.

Meanwhile the young duo shared the work in front. They soon realized each other’s strong and weak points. “I felt stronger on the rolling sections so I set a hard pace on those, that’s how I got the gap,” Van Aert said.

Van der Poel lost nine seconds but stood tall. “I tried to hang on, realizing Wout had to set out the track in the sand. I tried to go through those sand sections as good as possible. Once I made two mistakes in those I quickly lost 25 seconds,” van der Poel said.

Suddenly Pauwels fired up his engine and sped away from the main group. “I felt good and had something left in my tank,” Pauwels said.

Pauwels quickly got Van der Poel in sight and was caught by surprise again as he explained that he wasn’t aware van der Poel rode in between him and leader Van Aert. The timid Belgian rider then clocked the fastest lap of the race but soon realized the win was gone as the gap was already up to forty seconds. “I didn’t get any closer on him. He probably was much stronger than me today,” Pauwels said.

While Van Aert cruised to the victory with Pauwels taking second place, van der Poel narrowly held off the group behind him. Meeusen won the sprint for fourth place ahead of Vantornout and youngster Jens Adams. With Rob Peeters in ninth place the Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace managed to place three of its riders in the top 10. Veteran Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) managed to close down the top 10.

Belgian champion Sven Nys seemed to lose focus during the second half of the race, making minor mistakes and then slipping away from eighth to 15th at the finish line. “I was pretty bad today. [...] I didn’t have power in my legs. I don’t feel ill but I’m on antibiotics, which you’re paying cash at this level,” Nys said.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct1:02:34
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:41
3Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus0:00:53
4Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:00:55
5Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:57
6Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct0:00:58
7Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:01:05
8Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp - Powerplus0:01:08
9Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct0:01:11
10Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:15
11Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro0:01:24
12Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - Kwadro0:01:37
13Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:58
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:02:08
15Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink0:02:09
16Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus0:02:22
18Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:46
19Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro0:02:49
20Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:50
21Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:03:12
22David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus0:03:52
23Jakub Skala (Cze)0:03:55
24Ian Field (GBr)0:03:56
25Michael Boros (Cze)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Sascha Weber (Ger) Veranclassic - Doltcini0:04:15
27Francis Mourey (Fra) Fdj.Fr0:04:19
28Fabien Canal (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise0:04:20
29Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:04:21
30Twan (Deleted) Van Den Brand (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels0:04:31
31Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - Kwadro0:04:37
32Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - KwadroRow 31 - Cell 2
33Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:05:06
34Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team0:05:07
35Mariusz Gil (Pol) Corendon - Kwadro0:05:31
36Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned)0:06:00
37Simon Zahner (Swi)0:06:07
38Jonathan Page (USA)0:06:30
39Arnaud Grand (Swi)-2Laps
40Josep Betalu (Spa)Row 39 - Cell 2
41Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)Row 40 - Cell 2
42Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Veranclassic - DoltciniRow 41 - Cell 2
43Tomas Paprstka (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team KolinRow 42 - Cell 2
44Lubomir Petrus (Cze) Bkcp - PowerplusRow 43 - Cell 2
45Severin Saegesser (Swi)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Kenneth Hansen (Den)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Felix Drumm (Ger)-3Laps
48Lukas Winterberg (Swi)Row 47 - Cell 2
49Clément Lhotellerie (Fra)Row 48 - Cell 2
50Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3Rox RacingRow 49 - Cell 2
51Ole Quast (Ger)-4Laps
52Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Aaron Schooler (Can)Row 52 - Cell 2
54Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies-5Laps
55Gusty Bausch (Lux)Row 54 - Cell 2
56Angus Edmond (NZl)Row 55 - Cell 2
57Mark Mcconnell (Can)-6Laps
DNFEnroci Franzoi (Ita) Marchiol EmisferoRow 57 - Cell 2


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