Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) won the opening round of the Superprestige series in Gieten, Belgium.

After winning seven of the eight Superprestige races last season, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) picked-up where he left off and captured the win in Gieten, Belgium on Saturday at the opening round of the Superpresitge series.

World champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) finished second, 15-seconds behind. Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) was able to drop Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea) in the final lap to secure the final podium place.

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After two dominant performances at the opening two rounds of the world cup in the United States and the Superprestige overall series winner last season, van der Poel arrived in Gieten the heavy favorite. Van Aert, on the other hand, was looking for a good result after not having the best of races in the U.S.

Van der Poel took the holeshot and attacked the course hard from the start just like he did at the opening world cup rounds. However, van Aert along with Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napolean Games) were able to neutralize the Dutchman’s attack.

Midway through the race, a group of five had formed at the front with van der Poel, van Aert, van der Haar, Sweeck, and Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon). A Sweeck acceleration brought the group down to four with Meeusen popping off the back.

As the leaders slowed, it appeared the lead group would swell as Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napolean Games) was close to bringing a chase group back to the front. However, they would never make contact.

Van der Poel launched his winning move just after the leaders saw three laps to go. His attack shattered the leading quartet with van Aert chasing alone and Sweeck and van de Haar together.

The world champion chased hard, but was never able to close the gap to van der Poel, as the Dutchman was flawless in the final laps. Van Aert would finish 15-seconds behind. Sweeck was able to gap van der Haar on the final lap to secure third.

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