Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) started 2021 with a bang, delivering a commanding performance to win the GP Sven Nys on New Year's Day.
In the latest round of the his rivalry with Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), the Dutchman came out on top, leaving the Belgian scrambling in vain to chase back on the final lap.
Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing), who had initially appeared to be Van der Poel's closest challenger, faded on the last couple of laps and settled for the final spot on the podium.
It was Pidcock who, despite a first-lap mechanical, made the early running, leading solo after two of the seven laps. However, Van der Poel soon sensed danger and hunted him down, followed by Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). Van Aert was in a chase group a few seconds further back but soon made a surge, and those four riders joined forces at the head of the race.
Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) clawed his way across on lap 4, but the quintet wouldn't stay together for long, as Van der Poel made his move on lap 5. The world champion crushed the pedals, opening a gap as Van Aert suffered a spill on a tricky, muddy off-camber section. Van der Poel took more than 20 seconds off the previous fastest lap, and never looked back.
At the end of that fifth lap, Pidcock was the closest chaser, looking determined at just five seconds, with Vanthourenhout at 14 seconds and Van Aert with Iserbyt at 17 seconds. However, on lap 6, Van Aert turned on the burners. After clashing with Pidcock on that off-camber section, he eased clear of the young Brit and settled into a solo pursuit.
Van Aert had a 12-second deficit to claw back on the final lap, but Van der Poel made no mistake, mastering the technical elements while laying down the power all the way to the finish. Meanwhile, when Van Aert slipped again on that pesky off-camber section, he must have known the game was up and trailed in at 8 seconds as his rival punched the air in front.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix||1:00:18|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel)||0:00:08|
|3||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:00:32|
|4||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:00:41|
|5||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:00:46|
|6||Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:01:10|
|7||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:01:59|
|8||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:02:21|
|9||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:02:35|
|10||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:02:42|
|11||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:03:00|
|12||Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:03:05|
|13||Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads||0:03:17|
|14||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads||0:03:22|
|15||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:03:27|
|16||Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens - Maes Containers||0:03:34|
|17||Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:03:37|
|18||Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions|
|19||Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:03:59|
|20||Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:04:06|
|21||Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin - Fenix||0:04:11|
|22||Curtis White (USA)||0:04:57|
|23||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:05:02|
|24||Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:05:17|
|25||Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:05:22|
|26||Arne Vrachten (Bel)||0:06:36|
|27||Ward Huybs (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:07:24|
|28||Seppe Rombouts (Bel)||0:07:37|
|29||Lennert Belmans (Bel) Iko - Crelan||0:07:41|
|30||Mario Junquera San Millan (Spa)||0:07:53|
|31||Thomas Verheyen (Bel)||0:08:01|
|32||Victor Thomas (Fra)||0:09:05|
|33||Wout Vervoort (Bel)|
|34||Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|35||Klaas Groenen (Ned)|
|36||Koen Van Dijke (Ned)|
|37||Timothé Gabriel (Fra)|
|38||Elio Clarysse (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|39||Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|DNF||Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal|
|DNF||Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal|
|DNF||Jonathan Anderson (USA)|
|DNF||Justin Laevens (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini Ct|
|DSQ||Michael Van Den Ham (Can)|
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