Mathieu van der Poel scores win at X2O Trophy Scheldecross

Mathieu Van der Poel rainbow stripes
Mathieu van der Poel earned a third rainbow stripes jersey earlier in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) made a victorious return to cyclo-cross on Saturday, winning the Scheldecross after an absorbing battle with Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). 

The world champion was making his latest start to a ‘cross season but still managed to raise his arms at the first time of asking, as he has done in six of the seven campaigns he has ridden as an elite. 

Van der Poel stormed away from the field early in the third round of the X²O Badkamers Trofee series, but the victory was far from a straightforward, runaway affair. A crash in the sand on the third of the eight laps of the Antwerp circuit scuppered his progress, and a mistake at the same point of the following lap allowed Iserbyt back to the front.

The pair then went at it hammer and tongs, Van der Poel opening a gap on numerous occasions, only for the European champion to keep clawing his way back. The decisive move was made towards the end of the penultimate lap, as Van der Poel moved clear through that troublesome sand section, before powering up a steep banking where Iserbyt had too dismount. 

Van der Poel had four seconds in hand at the bell and made no mistake on the final lap, sitting up and celebrating six seconds ahead of Iserbyt. 

Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) claimed the final podium spot after two lower placings in his first appearances of the season. The 21-year-old Brit was dangling off the back of the chase group at the halfway mark but made his way past the looks of Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions), Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise Lions), Quentin Hermans (Tormans Cyclo Cross Team), Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), to finish clear as best of the rest.

In the overall standings, Iserbyt retains his series lead, which is based on accumulated time rather than points. 

How it unfolded

Van der Haar made the early running on the opening lap but Van de Pool didn’t waste any time in hitting the front along with Iserbyt. He used his power to move clear on lap 2 and it looked like we were in for another exhibition. However, a crash in the long, sand section on lap 3 slashed his lead and knocked his confidence. He was still out front but when he went shakily through the same section on lap 4, Iserbyt, who’d been in a chasing tussle with Quentin Hermans, made his way back. 

Iserbyt then took the lead as Van der Poel went to the pits and the pair were joined by some of the chasers on lap 5. Hermans, Sweeck, and Vanthourenhout made it a five-man lead group but not for long, as Iserbyt glided through the sand and Van der Poel, having made a slight mistake on the approach, stormed after him. 

The pair finished lap 5 with a lead of six seconds over Hermans and Vanthourenhout, with Sweeck, Aerts, and Van der Haar a little further back, and Pidcock still in eighth place at this stage. 

A small mistake on lap 6 saw Iserbyt put his foot down on a hairpin bend, but he managed to claw his way back to Van der Poel once more early on the penultimate lap. However, Van der Poel made his power count on the steep bankings and opened a convincing gap as he approached the bell lap. 

Pidcock judged his effort well and continued to move through and clear of the chasers, as Van der Poel rode the final lap alone out front. Iserbyt looked spent and needed a mistake from the world champion, but it was not forthcoming.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin Fenix0:58:10
2Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:06
3Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:00:27
4Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:00:30
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:00:43
6Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:51
7Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:01:00
8Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:01:09
9Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:01:22
10Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers0:01:26
11Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:45
12Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:01:52
13Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:02:05
14Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team0:02:11
15Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:02:15
16Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Credishop Fristads0:02:19
17Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:02:25
18Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers0:02:27
19Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:02:30
20Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:02:34
21Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers0:02:47
22Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads0:03:07
23Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team0:03:21
24Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads0:03:37
25Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:04:11
26David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix0:04:16
27Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:04:19
28Tim van Dijke (Ned) Jumbo Visma Development0:04:51
29Gianni Siebens (Bel) Urbano Cycling Team0:05:08
30Ward Huybs (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:05:13
31Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads0:05:19
32Julian Siemons (Bel) AA Drink Young Lions0:05:21
33Curtis White (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld0:05:25
34Wout Vervoort (Bel) Iko-crelan
35Arne Baers (Bel) Bert Containers - Pauwels Sauzen0:05:33
36Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix0:05:48
37Hugo Jot (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team0:05:58
38Stan Godrie (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg - Destil0:06:05
39Robin Alderweireld (Bel) Team Atom 60:06:14
40Arne Vrachten (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen BC0:06:20
41Len Dejonghe (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers-1 lap
42Seppe Rombouts (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen Bc
43Bart Artz (Ned)
44Klaas Groenen (Ned)
45Joachim van Looveren (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
46Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
47Koen van Dijke (Ned)
48Arthur Tropardy (Fra)
49Ronan Auffret (Fra) Team Podiocom CC-2 laps
50Noah Vreeswijk (Ned)
51Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
52Lucas Brondani (Fra) AS Bike Crossteam- 3 laps
53Gabriel Timothé (Fra)- 4 laps
54Vincent Oger (Bel) Entente Cycliste de Wallonie- 5 laps
DNFNicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
DNFMaik van der Heijden (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg - Destil
DNFTheo Thomas (Fra) Tormans Cyclo-cross Team
DNFThibau Nys (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
DNSNiels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix

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