Van der Poel holds off Van Aert to win Flandriencross Hamme

Dutch Mathieu Van Der Poel celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men elite race of the Flandriencross the sixth stage in the Trofee Veldrijden Cyclocross competition on January 23 2021 in Hamme Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN various sources AFP Belgium OUT Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBelgaAFP via Getty Images
Mathieu van der Poel wins in Hamme (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 1:05:22
2Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:07
3Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:00
4Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:01:05
5Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:01:06
6Corne van Kessel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:01:35
7Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:38
8Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:39
9Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:02:04
10Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:02:35
11Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:58
12Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:03:03
13Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:03:13
14Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:03:22
15Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:03:46
16Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin - Fenix 0:03:49
17Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:03:57
18David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:58
19Jim Aernouts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:04:03
20Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:04:21
21Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:04:22
22Arne Vrachten (Bel) 0:04:32
23Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:04:47
24Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:04:53
25Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:05:09
26Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:05:18
27Len Dejonghe (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:05:39
28Robin Alderweireld (Bel) 0:06:01
29Cameron Mason (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:06:06
30Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) 0:06:14
31Arno Van Den Broeck (Bel) 0:06:31
32Witse Meeussen (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:06:37
33Joachim Van Looveren (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct 0:06:39
34Arne Baers (Bel)
35Gianni Siebens (Bel)
36Wout Vervoort (Bel)
37Thomas Verheyen (Bel)
38Jens Gys (Bel)
39Lennert Belmans (Bel) Iko - Crelan
40Koen Van Dijke (Ned)
41Victor Thomas (Fra)
42Théo Thomas (Fra) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team
43Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct
44Cédric Pries (Lux)
45Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct
46Noah Vreeswijk (Ned)
47Jules Van Kempen (USA)
48Jonathan Anderson (USA)
DNFGianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFDiether Sweeck (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal
DNFJulian Siemons (Bel)
DNFKlaas Groenen (Ned)
DNFJustin Laevens (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct

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