Perhaps fuelled by a decisive mechanical that might have cost him the World Cup victory in Zeven the previous day, Mathieu Van Der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) proved that he is still the man-to-beat in cyclo-cross this year as he rode away with a solo victory at Flandriencross.
The Dutchman made winning look easy, as he has so often done this season, beating Wout Van Aert (Crelan – Charles), who won the World Cup on Saturday, by 33 seconds and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux – Napoleon Games) by 47 seconds.
Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) led through the first corners of the race followed by Van der Poel and Van Aert, closely marking each other.
The undulating, twisty and muddy terrain included a steep run-up that forced gaps between the riders over the top but a core group stuck together that also included Lars Van Der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions), Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions), Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) and Tim Merlier (Crelan – Charles), Kevin Pauwels (Marlux – Napoleon Games), Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Vanthourenhout.
With a time bonus on the line and after the previous day’s jammed chain, Van der Poel took no chances and took the lead over the stairs halfway through the first lap but Sweeck stuck close to his wheel, as did Van Aert. “I started quickly, because I wanted to immediately win the bonus seconds in the second lap,” said Van der Poel, who leads the overall standings.
Van der Poel pushed on until no one could hold the quick pace and opened a small gap. Van Aert shot around Sweeck in an attempt to close it down on his own. His effort came up fruitless, however, as the Dutchman gradually added time to his advantage through each subsequent lap.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com