World champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) powered to his first Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup victory of the season on Saturday in

World champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) powered to his first Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup victory of the season on Saturday in Zeven, Germany. Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), who had been victories at the previous four World Cup races this season, suffered from a dropped chain on lap two that cost him considerable time. The World Cup leader fought hard for the rest of the race, but was never able to get close to van Aert who was having a flawless day.

Teammates Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) and Corne van Kessel, along with Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napolean Games) rode together for the majority of the race, battling for the podium. Aerts would put the power down on the sixth of eight laps, to get away from the other two and secure the final podium spot. Van Kessel would get the better of Vanthourenhout to finish in fourth.

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After many months of fast and dry cyclocross courses, muddy conditions have finally returned to Europe. The course in Zeven, Germany on Saturday for the fifth stop of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup circuit was one of attrition with lots of running for the riders. Van der Poel entered the race undefeated in World Cup races and furthermore, all of his four victories have come relatively uncontested.

Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea) took the holeshot, as just with the women’s race, a crash occurred midway down the field as the riders turned off the pavement and onto the grass. U.S. national champion Stephen Hyde ( was brought down, but remounted quickly. Hyde would be involved in another crash a short time later on the opening lap. He recovered from both incidents, but would not end up finishing the race. Another American, Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo) was also held up by the first crash.

Six riders separated themselves from the rest on the opening lap and it was full of heavy pre-race favorites. The move proved to be decisive, as those riders would ultimately fill the first five positions on the results sheet.

Van der Poel’s race was turned upside down on the second of eight laps when he dropped his chain and struggled to get it back on. Many riders rode past the former world champion, as he stood on the side of the course working on his bike. Once he got back going, he was nearly 40 seconds down on the leaders.

Soon after van der Poel’s mistake, the lead group shattered. Michael BoroŠ (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) crashed hard on of the descents after hitting his knee on one of the poles holding up the course side fencing. Meanwhile, Van Aert was keen to capitalize on van der Poel’s mistake and punched the accelerator in the lead group. The group shattered, as no one was able to keep pace with the world champion. Aerts, Kessel, and Vanthourenhout formed the chase group. Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea) moved into fifth behind with them. He was chased by Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napolean Games). Van der Poel was outside the top-10 when he finally hit crossed the finish line to begin lap three.

The next couple of laps consisted of van Aert powering along alone in the lead and the chase group trading attacks. Van de Poel was on a mission and powered toward the front of the race. He caught the chase group on lap four and soon left them behind in pursuit of van Aert. With four laps remaining, the gap between van der Poel and van Aert was 29 seconds.

That would be as close as van der Poel would get, as soon the hard chase effort caught up to him and his gap to van Aert ballooned. Meanwhile, Aerts had ridden away from Kessel and Vanthourenhout.

Van Aert captured his first World Cup victory of the season and van der Poel still showed he is strong by finishing second. Aerts rounded out the podium in third. German national champion Marcel Meisen (Steylaerts-BeFirst) finished eighth in front of a home crowd.

The Belgian contingent had a solid day out in Germany, as only six out of the top-20 were not from Belgium.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup series continues on December 17th in Namur, Belgium. Namur is a staple on the World Cup circuit and one thing is always guaranteed there — mud.

Full results

Full Results