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.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)||1:03:59|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel)||0:00:03|
|3||Thomas Pidcock (GBr)||0:00:11|
|4||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel)||0:01:07|
|5||Quinten Hermans (Bel)||0:02:09|
|6||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned)||0:02:17|
|7||Toon Aerts (Bel)||0:02:53|
|8||Daan Soete (Bel)||0:02:57|
|9||Corne Van Kessel (Ned)||0:03:25|
|10||Ryan Kamp (Ned)||0:03:31|
|11||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)||0:03:46|
|12||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel)||0:03:49|
|13||Joshua Dubau (Fra)||0:03:52|
|14||Thijs Aerts (Bel)||0:03:58|
|15||Kevin Kuhn (Swi)||0:04:01|
|16||Timo Kielich (Bel)||0:04:03|
|17||Mees Hendrikx (Ned)||0:04:30|
|18||Toon Vandebosch (Bel)||0:04:47|
|19||Laurens Sweeck (Bel)||0:04:54|
|20||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa)||0:05:05|
|21||Marcel Meisen (Ger)||0:05:20|
|22||Timon Rüegg (Swi)||0:05:27|
|23||Ben Turner (GBr)||0:05:35|
|24||Diether Sweeck (Bel)||0:05:42|
|25||David Menut (Fra)||0:05:47|
|26||Michael Boroš (Cze)||0:05:49|
|27||Thomas Mein (GBr)||0:05:52|
|28||Curtis White (USA)||0:07:30|
|29||Sascha Weber (Ger)|
|30||Stan Godrie (Ned)|
|31||Eli Iserbyt (Bel)|
|32||Yan Gras (Fra)|
|33||Loris Rouiller (Swi)|
|34||Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)|
|35||Rémi Lelandais (Fra)|
|36||Gilles Mottiez (Swi)|
|37||Pim Ronhaar (Ned)|
|38||Maik Van Der Heijden (Ned)|
|39||Dario Lillo (Swi)|
|40||Michael Van Den Ham (Can)|
|41||Valentin Guillaud (Fra)|
|42||Florian Richard Andrade (Fra)|
|43||Mathieu Morichon (Fra)|
|44||Kyle Agterberg (Ned)|
|45||Jakub Říman (Cze)|
|46||Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)|
|47||Jofre Cullell Estape (Spa)|
|48||Rory Mcguire (GBr)|
|49||David Van Der Poel (Ned)|
|50||Lucas Dubau (Fra)|
|51||Šimon Vaníček (Cze)|
|52||Daniel Mayer (Cze)|
|53||Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita)|
|54||Oliver Stockwell (GBr)|
|55||Daniel Barnes (GBr)|
|56||Mario Junquera San Millan (Spa)|
|57||Aurélien Philibert (Fra)|
|58||David Conroy (Irl)|
|59||Heinrich Haussler (Aus)|
|60||Andrew Giniat (USA)|
|61||Tom Couzens (GBr)|
|62||Jules Van Kempen (USA)|
|DNF||Steve Chainel (Fra)|
|DNF||Toby Barnes (GBr)|
|DNF||Tim Van Dijke (Ned)|
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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