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Scheldecross: van der Poel, Cant win duels

Beobank-Corendon teammates Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant were each victorious in a duel with their main rival on Saturday at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Scheldecross in Antwerp, Belgium.

The course in Antwerp was diabolical with sand, mud, and tough run-ups. One of the steep run-ups had a double barrier section, but instead of the normal wooden planks, the barriers were tires. The race was able to sell this as a sponsorship to a tire company.

Van der Poel took the holeshot, as he has done most times this season. Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea) appeared to be feeling good on Saturday, as he passed van der Poel shortly after the riders entered the true part of the course. Then something not seen too often this year occurred. Van der Poel crashed. The Dutchman fell while behind van der Haar and this dropped him out of the top 10.

Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) had a slow start, but quickly moved toward the front after noticing van der Poel was behind him. As the riders hit the pavement to finish the opening lap, they were all in a long line. The time for the opening effort was remarkable, as the leader posted a sub-six minute lap.

Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) crashed midway through the second lap and spent considerable time fixing his bike. He would be on the backfoot the rest of the day.

Van Aert put down a hard acceleration on the finishing that no one in the rather large lead group was able to follow. Van der Poel was still behind in the chase group, but he would bridge all the way up to van Aert on the second lap. While the Belgian and Dutch national champions did battle in the lead, Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) and van der Haar were chasing behind. They would be joined by three of van der Haar’s teammates in Toon Aerts, Dan Soete and Corne van Kessel. Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napolean Games) would also join the chase group.

Van Aert clipped the rope lining the course and crashed early on the fourth of what would be 10 laps. This allowed van der Poel to get a gap and in most cases, once van der Poel moves alone into the lead, it is very hard to bring him back.

Van Aert would chase valiantly over the new four laps and finally bridge back to van der Poel just before the riders hit two laps to go. While van Aert had been chasing down van der Poel, the group of five behind had been attacking each other. They had also been constantly losing time to the two riders up front. The large chase group crossed the line with two laps to go looking exhausted.

The final lap between van der Poel and van Aert was tense. After accelerations by each early in the lap, the cat and mouse games had begun. The race would come down to the final sand section, which required riders to run. Van der Poel entered the section first and once he began running, you could tell this was an attack. Both riders sprinted full-on through the sand, but van der Poel was able to emerge with a slight advantage and he capitalized on it.

Van der Poel took the victory over van Aert, who was left wondering what could have been had he not crashed earlier in the race and was forced to chase.

The chase group had an intense battle of its own on the final lap. Aerts and Kessel got their bikes tangled on one of the run-ups, which allowed Sweeck, who was leading the group, to get a gap. Van der Haar and Pauwels also slide by the Telenet duo.

Sweeck would hold on to finish third to round out the podium. Aerts had managed to recover and move into fourth, but a late crash knocked him down into sixth on the day. Van der Haar finished fourth and Pauwels finished fifth.

The skies open up just after van der Poel crashed the line, drenching all of the riders.

Elite men top 10

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 57:24
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 57:27
  • 3. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 58:30
  • 4. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED), 58:34
  • 5. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 58:39
  • 6. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 58:46
  • 7. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 58:55
  • 8. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 59:12
  • 9. Jens Adams, (BEL), 59:32
  • 10. Daan Soete, (BEL), 59:41

Cant wins battle with Compton

World champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) prevailed in an intense battle with DVV Trofee series leader Katie Compton (KFC Racing/Trek/Panache). The two riders proved to be the strongest as slowly the lead group whittled down to just them. Cant put in a blistering attack just before the pavement that Compton was unable to match to take the victory. The 13-time U.S. national cyclocross champion finished a few seconds behind Cant with Helen Wyman (Kona) in third.

The elite women’s race saw a familiar face back on the start line, as seven-time world cyclocross champion Marianne Vos (WM3) returned. She finished second to Cant at the 2017 world cyclocross championships in Luxembourg.

Cant got off to a hot start and took the holeshot, but she was followed closely by Vos. The fast and short course in Antwerp would see the elite women race seven laps on Saturday. Normally, the women race four or five. At the end of the opening lap, a group of seven had emerged containing Cant, Compton, Wyman, Vos, Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea), Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans), and Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team).

Brammeier moved to the font to push the pace on lap two and this saw Wyman, van Loy, and Vos all gapped by the midpoint in the lap. Compton them went to the front for the first time, further putting the rest of the riders on the limit. Wyman was seven seconds adrift at the end of the lap with Vos and van Loy a further five seconds behind her. Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles), who has had a quiet last couple of weekends after dominating the first couple of months, missed the original move and was left riding in no-man’s land.

The fourth lap saw a lot of action, as Brammerier crashed entering the sand section. She recovered quickly, but this dropped her off the lead group. She linked up with Wyman in chasing the now leading trio of Compton, Cant, and Nash. Wyman would drop Brammerier and join the leaders by the end of the lap.

Meanwhile, van Loy and Vos had separated, but both were going the wrong direction. They had been passed by Kaptheijns and then Kim van de Steene (Tarteletto-Isorex) passed both riders as well. While Vos had looked good for the first couple of laps in her return to cyclocross, she was now beginning to pay for those early efforts that seemed to now have been above what she could handle.

The leading quartet would stay together until the penultimate lap when a crash by Nash split the group and allowed Compton and Cant to fight for the victory. Nash was riding too close to the rope lining the course during one of the sand sections and clipped her handlebars and fell. Wyman was behind Nash at the time and was forced to go wide, and thus was gapped off of Cant and Compton.

The final lap was a battle. Cant and Compton each put in multiple attacks and accelerations. As they neared the finish Compton kept the pressure on while in the lead. A sprint finish seemed inevitable, but Compton didn’t want to make it easy on Cant.

However, Cant was not satisfied to go to the line with Compton and try her hand in a one-on-one sprint. She attacked hard on the final grassy straight before the tight left-hand turn onto the pavement. Compton simply had no response to this acceleration.

Cant had enough time to sit-up and celebrate, while Compton soft-pedaled behind to come home in second. Wyman rounded out the podium in third. Wyman had spent a lot of the race dangling on and off the back of the leading group, but proved to have the stamina to keep her pace consistent to finish with a podium place.

Nash was unable to pass Wyman after crashing and settled for fourth with Brammeier fifth. Vos finished eighth in her comeback race.

The DVV Verzekeringen Trofee continues on December 28th with Azencross in Loenhout, Belgium.

Elite women full results

  • 1. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 48:46
  • 2. Katherine Compton, (USA), 48:50
  • 3. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 48:56
  • 4. Katerina Nash, (CZE), 49:15
  • 5. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 49:20
  • 6. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 49:44
  • 7. Kim Van De Steene, (BEL), 50:07
  • 8. Marianne Vos, (NED), 50:56
  • 9. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 51:14
  • 10. Denise Betsema, (NED), 51:26
  • 11. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 51:49
  • 12. Geerte Hoeke, (NED), 52:07
  • 13. Lindy Van Anrooij, (NED), 52:57
  • 14. Jolien Verschueren, (BEL), 53:29
  • 15. Maaike De Heij, (NED), 53:39
  • 16. Axelle Bellaert, (BEL), 53:41
  • 17. Lizzy Witlox, (NED), 54:12
  • 18. Marthe Truyen, (BEL), 54:18
  • 19. Jinse Peeters, (BEL), 54:20
  • 20. Veerle Goossens, (NED), 54:37
  • 21. Aniek Van Alphen, (NED), 54:40
  • 22. Susanne Meistrok, (NED), 54:40
  • 23. Ffion James, (GBR), 54:54
  • 24. Shana Maes, (BEL)
  • 25. Meg De Bruyne, (BEL)
  • 26. Natalie Redmond, (AUS)
  • 27. Lise Van Wunsel, (BEL)
  • 28. Corey Coogan Cisek, (USA)
  • 29. Aurelie Vermeir, (BEL)
  • 30. Kim Van De Putte, (BEL)
  • 31. Kristien Nelen, (BEL)
  • 32. Emily Wadsworth, (GBR)
  • 33. Giovanna Michieletto, (ITA)
  • 34. Laure Michels, (BEL)
  • 35. Caren Commissaris, (BEL)
  • 36. Maaike Meistrok, (NED)
  • 37. Jana Dobbelaere, (BEL)
  • 38. Evy Kuijpers, (NED)
  • 39. Tess Van Loy, (BEL)
  • 40. Klára VernerovÁ, (CZE)
  • 41. Kiona CrabbÉ, (BEL)
  • 42. Océane Allart, (FRA)
  • 43. Amaia Lartitegi Ormazabal, (ESP)
  • 44. Esther Van Der Burg, (NED)
  • 45. Sara Beeckmans, (BEL)
  • 46. Nele De Vos, (BEL)
  • 47. Jo Blanchaert, (BEL)
  • 48. Lisette Schoon, (NED)
  • 49. Olga Kuzmina, (RUS)

Elite men full results

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 57:24
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 57:27
  • 3. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 58:30
  • 4. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED), 58:34
  • 5. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 58:39
  • 6. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 58:46
  • 7. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 58:55
  • 8. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 59:12
  • 9. Jens Adams, (BEL), 59:32
  • 10. Daan Soete, (BEL), 59:41
  • 11. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:00:00
  • 12. Michael BoroŠ, (CZE), 1:00:01
  • 13. Dieter Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:00:42
  • 14. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:00:46
  • 15. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:01:25
  • 16. Joeri Adams, (BEL), 1:01:25
  • 17. Rob Peeters, (BEL), 1:01:35
  • 18. Braam Merlier, (BEL), 1:02:07
  • 19. Thijs Van Amerongen, (NED)
  • 20. Stijn Huys, (BEL)
  • 21. Kenneth Van Compernolle, (BEL)
  • 22. Edwin De Wit, (BEL)
  • 23. Tim Rieckmann, (GER)
  • 24. Dries Pauwels, (BEL)

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