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Nommay: Van der Poel still unbeatable

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won his sixth Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup race of the season on Sunday in Nommay, France. The Dutchman was locked in a battle with Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) in the opening laps but capitalized on a mistake by the World Champion to ride away. Van der Poel has finished on the podium at every World Cup this year and will be greatly motivated next week at the final stop in Hoogerheide, as the race is organized and named after his father Adri van der Poel.

As has been the case for much of the season, van Aert finished second way back of Van der Poel. The Belgian has been challenging van der Poel more and more as the weeks have gone on, but with the World Championships only two weeks away, it looks doubtful he will be able to win a third consecutive title.

Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) finished third with van Aert’s teammate, Tim Merlier, fourth.

Top 10

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED), CORENDON-CIRCUS, 1:06:56
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), CRELAN-CHARLES, 1:07:29
  • 3. Toon Aerts (BEL), TEELNET FIDEA, 1:09:05
  • 4. Tim Merlier (BEL), CRELAN-CHARLES, 1:09:27
  • 5. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), MARLUX-BINGOAL, 1:09:43
  • 6. Laurens Sweeck (BEL), ERA-CIRCUS 1:10:02
  • 7. Michael BoroŠ (CZE), PAUWELS SAUZEN VASTGOEDSERVICE, 1:10:07
  • 8. David Van Der Poel (NED), CORENDON-CIRCUS 1:10:44
  • 9. Steve Chainel (FRA), TEAM CHAZAL CANYON, 1:10:46
  • 10. Kevin Pauwels (BEL), MARLUX-BINGOAL, 1:10:50

Course conditions were horendous for the elite men in Nommay, France. While much of the course was rideable due to the mud not being extremely thick, the multiple hills on the course were treacherous and required many to get off and run. Van der Poel and van Aert showed immense strength by riding a few of the hills. The set of barriers in Nommay were even dangerous, as noted by the fact that only van der Poel and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) were seen riding over them throughout the race.

Van Aert led the large men’s field onto the opening set of stairs with van der Poel tucked onto his wheel. Merlier soon took over leading, as the group powered through the first mud section. But his time at the front would be short. Aerts blitzed by everyone to move into the lead and force the main selection of the race mere minutes since the start.

Merlier, van der Poel, van Aert, and Aerts began to separate themselves from the rest on lap one, while Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) led the chase behind. Sweeck and Michael BoroŠ (Pauwels-Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) would bridge to the leaders before the end of the opening lap.

As the lead group passed the pit for the second time, many riders entered to get a clean bike. Van Aert, who was leading the group, did not. Van der Poel made a critical error when he rode by his mechanics. He was a couple meters past when he realized his mistake and was forced to dismount and run back.

Van der Poel’s error in the pit lane caused confusion and van Aert was able to get a gap on everyone, as he did not enter the pit. Van Aert finished the opening lap with a three-second lead over Aerts and Sweeck with BoroŠ and Merlier just behind. Van der Poel finished the lap 10 seconds down on the World Champion.

Van Aert’s time alone in the lead would be short-lived, as van der Poel bridged to him midway through the lap and brought Aerts with him. The chasing duo made the final junction to van Aert after he slipped while running. Soon though, it would be a duel at the front, as the former European champion Aerts would be unable to hold the pace of van der Poel and van Aert.

A peculiar event happened on the second lap between Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea) and Francis Mourey. Mourey got his foot stuck in van der Haar’s bike between one of the seat stays and the wheel. He was laying on the course for some time while multiple people came to the Frenchman’s assistance. Van der Haar would end up being pulled from the race after the fourth lap, having lost too much time due to the incident. Mourey would be disqualified. At the time of publication, it was unknown why Mourey was disqualified.

The leading duo held a 12-second lead over Aerts and Sweek as they crossed the finish line with seven laps remaining. BoroŠ was 24 seconds down in fifth place.

The third lap is when van der Poel pounced and rode away from van Aert. The two leaders were constantly attempting to power up hills that most of the others in the race ran. Van der Poel cleanly rode a slightly off-camber hill, while van Aert’s rear tire lost traction and forced him to put a foot down. This slight error by the three-time Belgian national champion opened the door for van der Poel to ride away.

Van Aert finished the third lap within touching distance of van der Poel, but he would never be able to claw back the last couple seconds. Sweeck and Aerts cross the line more than 30 seconds down with Merlier and BoroŠ about 10 seconds behind them.

Vanthourenhout would have a good second half of the race and move into contention for a podium place. The Belgian was part of a group of four chasing Aerts, who was in third with three laps remaining. Joining Vanthourenhout were Merlier, Sweeck, and BoroŠ. Aerts had attacked and left Sweeck behind on the fourth lap.

Merlier would be able to get the better of his chase group companions in the final laps to finish the race in fourth behind van der Poel, van Aert, and Aerts. Vanthourenhout finish fifth, a great result considering he was out of the picture for much of the first half of the race. Sweeck was sixth and BoroŠ was seventh.

Newly crowned French national cyclocross champion Steve Chainel (Team Chazal Canyon) managed to come home in ninth. A great result for him on home soil.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup continues on January 28 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

Full results

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:06:56
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 1:07:29
  • 3. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:09:05
  • 4. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:09:27
  • 5. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:09:43
  • 6. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 1:10:02
  • 7. Michael BoroŠ, (CZE), 1:10:07
  • 8. David Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:10:44
  • 9. Steve Chainel, (FRA), 1:10:46
  • 10. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:10:50
  • 11. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:10:55
  • 12. Fabien Canal, (FRA), 1:10:58
  • 13. Daan Soete, (BEL), 1:11:10
  • 14. Quinten Hermans, (BEL), 1:11:22
  • 15. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:11:42
  • 16. Nicolas Cleppe, (BEL), 1:11:48
  • 17. Felipe Orts Lloret, (ESP), 1:12:03
  • 18. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:12:14
  • 19. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL), 1:12:15
  • 20. Marcel Meisen, (GER), 1:12:35
  • 21. Jim Aernouts, (BEL), 1:13:00
  • 22. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:13:23
  • 23. Lars Forster, (SUI), 1:13:32
  • 24. Gioele Bertolini, (ITA), 1:13:40
  • 25. Stan Godrie, (NED), 1:13:41
  • 26. Severin SÄgesser, (SUI), 1:13:56
  • 27. Alois Falenta, (FRA), 1:14:08
  • 28. Matthieu Boulo, (FRA)
  • 29. Ismael Esteban Aguero, (ESP)
  • 30. Diether Sweeck, (BEL)
  • 31. David Menut, (FRA)
  • 32. Kevin Suarez Fernandez, (ESP)
  • 33. Tomáš Paprstka, (CZE)
  • 34. Jan Nesvadba, (CZE)
  • 35. Eric Thompson, (USA)
  • 36. Kerry Werner, (USA)
  • 37. Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga IbaÑez, (ESP)
  • 38. Emil Hekele, (CZE)
  • 39. Luca Braidot, (ITA)
  • 40. Arthur Tropardy, (FRA)
  • 41. Marcel Wildhaber, (SUI)
  • 42. Michael Van Den Ham, (CAN)
  • 43. Florian Trigo, (FRA)
  • 44. Daniele Braidot, (ITA)
  • 45. Garry Millburn, (AUS)
  • 46. Yannick Mayer, (GER)
  • 47. Philipp Heigl, (AUT)
  • 48. Tyler Cloutier, (USA)

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