Mathieu van der Poel wins Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur after clash with Wout van Aert

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) won the second round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur after a thrilling battle against runner-up Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). Tom Pidcock (Trinity) finish third place at eleven seconds behind the day's winner.

Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), who won the opening round in Tabor, finished fourth in Namur and retained his lead in the Cyclo-cross World Cup series.

After a battle during the Classics season that saw Van der Poel win Tour of Flanders and Van Aert win Milan-San Remo, the pair reunited for a showdown at the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur on Sunday.

Despite the anticipated battle between Van der Poel and Van Aert, it was Pidcock who dominated the race. He set off with a quick start and took the race lead partway through the opening lap, followed by Van Aert and Vanthourenhout, while Van der Poel was forced to play catch up on the first lap. 

Missing from the front group was Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), who had a mechanical with his chain and rendered out of contention.

Pidcock went solo on lap two, with roughly 5 seconds gap, but the three chasers made contact with him on the third lap. Pidcock stayed at the front of the lead group, and made another effort through a tricky descent on the fourth lap to open the gap again, this time to seven seconds. 

Pidcock's move forced Van Aert and Van der Poel to chase. Van der Poel tried to close the gap to Pidcock alone on lap 6, but he was caught again by Van Aert on lap seven. Meanwhile, Vanthourenhout suffered an untimely flat tire that took him out of contention.

Van Aert did most of the work, with Van der Poel in tow, to finally closed the gap to Pidcock during the penultimate lap (lap 8).

Van der Poel then went to the front and pushed the speeds on the climbs, and while Van Aert could hang on at first, Pidcock was distanced from the leading duo ahead of the final lap after leading for much of the race. 

A small gap opened between Van der Poel and Van Aert, just a few seconds, but with Van der Poel in the lead. With both riders racing flat-out, any small mistake would have cost the victory. 

There were no mistakes and Van der Poel crossed the line with a mere three-second lead on Van Aert to take the win. Pidcock finished the race in third place an additional eight seconds behind.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) 1:03:59
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) 0:00:03
3Thomas Pidcock (GBr) 0:00:11
4Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) 0:01:07
5Quinten Hermans (Bel) 0:02:09
6Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) 0:02:17
7Toon Aerts (Bel) 0:02:53
8Daan Soete (Bel) 0:02:57
9Corne Van Kessel (Ned) 0:03:25
10Ryan Kamp (Ned) 0:03:31
11Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) 0:03:46
12Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 0:03:49
13Joshua Dubau (Fra) 0:03:52
14Thijs Aerts (Bel) 0:03:58
15Kevin Kuhn (Swi) 0:04:01
16Timo Kielich (Bel) 0:04:03
17Mees Hendrikx (Ned) 0:04:30
18Toon Vandebosch (Bel) 0:04:47
19Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 0:04:54
20Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) 0:05:05
21Marcel Meisen (Ger) 0:05:20
22Timon Rüegg (Swi) 0:05:27
23Ben Turner (GBr) 0:05:35
24Diether Sweeck (Bel) 0:05:42
25David Menut (Fra) 0:05:47
26Michael Boroš (Cze) 0:05:49
27Thomas Mein (GBr) 0:05:52
28Curtis White (USA) 0:07:30
29Sascha Weber (Ger)
30Stan Godrie (Ned)
31Eli Iserbyt (Bel)
32Yan Gras (Fra)
33Loris Rouiller (Swi)
34Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)
35Rémi Lelandais (Fra)
36Gilles Mottiez (Swi)
37Pim Ronhaar (Ned)
38Maik Van Der Heijden (Ned)
39Dario Lillo (Swi)
40Michael Van Den Ham (Can)
41Valentin Guillaud (Fra)
42Florian Richard Andrade (Fra)
43Mathieu Morichon (Fra)
44Kyle Agterberg (Ned)
45Jakub Říman (Cze)
46Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)
47Jofre Cullell Estape (Spa)
48Rory Mcguire (GBr)
49David Van Der Poel (Ned)
50Lucas Dubau (Fra)
51Šimon Vaníček (Cze)
52Daniel Mayer (Cze)
53Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita)
54Oliver Stockwell (GBr)
55Daniel Barnes (GBr)
56Mario Junquera San Millan (Spa)
57Aurélien Philibert (Fra)
58David Conroy (Irl)
59Heinrich Haussler (Aus)
60Andrew Giniat (USA)
61Tom Couzens (GBr)
62Jules Van Kempen (USA)
DNFSteve Chainel (Fra)
DNFToby Barnes (GBr)
DNFTim Van Dijke (Ned)

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