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Van der Poel takes gold at men's European Cyclo-cross Championships

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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the 2019 UEC European Cyclo-cross Championships

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the 2019 UEC European Cyclo-cross Championships
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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The podium (L-R): Eli Iserbyt, Mathieu van der Poel, Laurens Sweeck

The podium (L-R): Eli Iserbyt, Mathieu van der Poel, Laurens Sweeck
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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The podium finishers celebrate together

The podium finishers celebrate together
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Mathieu van der Poel leads the way up an incline in Silvelle

Mathieu van der Poel leads the way up an incline in Silvelle
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Belgian riders out on the technical course

Belgian riders out on the technical course
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands)

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands)
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Tom Pidcock (Great Britain)

Tom Pidcock (Great Britain)
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Eli Iserbyt (Belgium)

Eli Iserbyt (Belgium)
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Mathieu van der Poel takes the win ahead of Eli Iserbyt

Mathieu van der Poel takes the win ahead of Eli Iserbyt
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Iserbyt trails in behind Van der Poel

Iserbyt trails in behind Van der Poel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Eli Iserbyt takes a silver medal in Silvelle

Eli Iserbyt takes a silver medal in Silvelle
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Report

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) made it three in a row at the UEC European Cyclo-cross Championships, prevailing against a race-long Belgian onslaught to beat Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) by three seconds after a final-lap battle. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) rounded out the podium, 20 seconds down.

The Belgian squad had the strength in numbers throughout the race and continually put Van der Poel under pressure on the highly technical course, which featured 13 hairpin bends, thick mud and more corners besides.The 24-year-old had the answer to every acceleration and tactical move, though, and ultimately ended up in a one-on-one battle with his younger challenger Iserbyt, prevailing with an attack towards the end of the last of seven laps.

"I'm really happy with the jersey, not so much with the feeling," said Van der Poel after the finish. "It was quite a difficult course to make a difference, and I'm happy that I could finish it off in the end.

"The atmosphere and the fans were really great. It was nice to have a Euro Champ in Italy. It's a country we have to involve a bit more in cyclo-cross again. I'm happy with the jersey and the win here today."

Belgium led the way early on, with Toon Aerts and Quinten Hermans up front on the first lap. Iserbyt was also up with the leaders, while Van der Poel was the sole interloper. The world champion hung behind Hermans for much of the opening lap before suddenly putting in a series of stinging accelerations on one of the more technical parts of the course.
    
By the end of the first lap, Van der Poel had the lead, with Iserbyt and Hermans stuck to his wheel and four more Belgians in a large group five seconds back. The Belgian strength in numbers saw them put a move on Van der Poel on lap two, with Hermans letting Iserbyt push on in order to force the Dutchman to chase.

There were no big gaps opening up, though, with a few seconds separating Iserbyt and Van der Poel from the chasing Belgians – Quintens, Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout and Tim Merlier – plus Tom Pidcock (Great Britain), who was working his way up after a slow start.

Van der Poel, riding the second race of his 'cross season so far, moved to the front on lap three, though still had the cadre of Belgians breathing down his neck. By the end of lap three, things had stratified somewhat, with Van der Poel leading Isebyt by two seconds and Vanthourenhout by five, while the rest had fallen away to more than 15 seconds back.

Vanthourenhout got back to the front on lap four, during which the lead trio stuck together as things settled down up front. The 25-year-old pushed on at the start of the lap and then again midway through, with Iserbyt attempting to hold up Van der Poel in a mirror of the duo's move two laps earlier.

Still, Van der Poel managed to shut the move down, though by the start of the penultimate lap he was alone against five Belgians, with more moves surely left to come from the men in blue. Once again, it was Iserbyt who proved the strongest of them, following Van der Poel as he pushed the pace towards the end of the lap.

The pair battled through the lap, but Van der Poel was on the front the entire time. During the final half lap, just as he was pulling away, the Dutchman made a mistake clipping in, letting Iserbyt close in.

But the Belgian couldn't quite close the gap fully, and that was all Van der Poel needed to push on once again and secure his third European title.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) 0:58:22
2Eli Iserbyt (Bel) 0:00:03
3Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 0:00:20
4Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) 0:00:24
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) 0:00:25
6Quinten Hermans (Bel) 0:00:38
7Toon Aerts (Bel) 0:01:01
8Thomas Pidcock (GBr) 0:01:10
9Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) 0:01:22
10Tim Merlier (Bel) 0:01:42
11Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 0:01:51
12David Menut (Fra) 0:01:54
13Daan Soete (Bel) 0:01:57
14Corne Van Kessel (Ned) 0:03:14
15Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) 0:03:25
16Steve Chainel (Fra) 0:03:28
17Timon Rüegg (Swi) 0:03:29
18Simon Rahner (Swi) 0:03:56
19Michael Boroš (Cze) 0:05:28
20 Jan Nesvadba (Cze) 0:05:51
21Nicolas Samparisi (Ita) 0:05:57
22Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) 0:06:13
23Tomáš Paprstka (Cze) 0:06:29
24Cristian Cominelli (Ita) 0:06:41
25Ondrej Glajza (Svk) 0:08:02
26Stefano Capponi (Ita)+1 lap
27Matej Ulik (Svk)+2 laps
28Manuel Müller (Ger)+2 laps
29Simon Vozar (Svk)+2 laps
30David Eriksson (Swe)+3 laps

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