Mathieu van de Poel (Alpecin - Fenix) won the Flandriencross for the fifth year in a row despite being pushed all the way by rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
The world champion pulled out a slender gap early in the race and despite his Belgium rival holding the gap throughout Van de Poel held on for victory by a handful of seconds in Hamme.
Behind a fast final lap saw Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) ride clear of Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) for third place after a race-long battle.
X²O Badkamers Trofee series leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) kept a healthy lead in the competition, taking seventh on the day.
How it happened
In their first meeting for almost three weeks Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van de Poel (Alpecin - Fenix) were side by side sprinting away from the start on the opening road section
However, it was Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) who took the opening lap time bonus after Van de Poel slid out in a ditch section which had caught out several riders in the earlier women’s race.
Coming into the technical flowing section on the second lap Van der Poel took the lead and started to stretch the leading pack while Van Aert sat further back.
Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was the only rider initially able to stick with Van der Poel’s effort and the pairing pulled out a gap of eight seconds.
Van Aert tried to pull the gap back but also came into trouble on the deep ditch section sliding out when attempting to ride through.
The reigning world champion kept the pressure on during the second lap and pulled out an advantage on Vanthourenhout.
Vanthourenhout paid the price for his early effort and fell away with Van Aert passing the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider 12 seconds behind Van de Poel.
Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) also came unstuck in the ditch area while leading Aerts in the chase behind for third.
By the midway point Van der Poel had a 19 seconds lead over Van Aert with Pidcock leading the chasers at 33 seconds.
The Belgium champion kept pressure on his rival and was able to see the gap to his rival ebb and flow as Van Aert gained on the power sections and his rival on the technical parts.
Behind Pidcock was joined by Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in charge for the final podium spot.
Aerts also remained within contention ahead of a chasing group of four riders including series leader and European champion Iserbyt.
Van Aert and Van der Poel remained locked in a tight battle with the slender 11 seconds gap with a lap to go as each excelled on different sections.
Behind Pidcock and Sweeck were also enthralled in a tight battle with just two seconds separating them at the bell before the former Belgium champion passed his rival.
Van Aert remained within touching distance of his rival but as Van der Poel excelled in the final technical section he held on for victory by seven seconds and Sweeck in third.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||1:05:22|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||0:00:07|
|3||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:01:00|
|4||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:01:05|
|5||Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:01:06|
|6||Corne van Kessel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:01:35|
|7||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:01:38|
|8||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:01:39|
|9||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH||0:02:04|
|10||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:02:35|
|11||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:02:58|
|12||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:03:03|
|13||Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix||0:03:13|
|14||Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:03:22|
|15||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:03:46|
|16||Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin - Fenix||0:03:49|
|17||Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:03:57|
|18||David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:03:58|
|19||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:04:03|
|20||Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:04:21|
|21||Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:04:22|
|22||Arne Vrachten (Bel)||0:04:32|
|23||Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:04:47|
|24||Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:04:53|
|25||Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:05:09|
|26||Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:05:18|
|27||Len Dejonghe (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:05:39|
|28||Robin Alderweireld (Bel)||0:06:01|
|29||Cameron Mason (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:06:06|
|30||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)||0:06:14|
|31||Arno Van Den Broeck (Bel)||0:06:31|
|32||Witse Meeussen (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:06:37|
|33||Joachim Van Looveren (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct||0:06:39|
|34||Arne Baers (Bel)|
|35||Gianni Siebens (Bel)|
|36||Wout Vervoort (Bel)|
|37||Thomas Verheyen (Bel)|
|38||Jens Gys (Bel)|
|39||Lennert Belmans (Bel) Iko - Crelan|
|40||Koen Van Dijke (Ned)|
|41||Victor Thomas (Fra)|
|42||Théo Thomas (Fra) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team|
|43||Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|44||Cédric Pries (Lux)|
|45||Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|46||Noah Vreeswijk (Ned)|
|47||Jules Van Kempen (USA)|
|48||Jonathan Anderson (USA)|
|DNF||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal|
|DNF||Julian Siemons (Bel)|
|DNF||Klaas Groenen (Ned)|
|DNF||Justin Laevens (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
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