Cyclocross
Brand (left) and Alvarado (right) are two of many...

Van der Poel, Alvarado win World Cup Koksijde

Van der Poel dominated the race to win for a third consecutive occasion at Koksijde, Alvarado seals first World Cup win

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) was unstoppable at World Cup Koksijde, Sunday. The cyclocross world champion rode away from the bunch on lap two and never looked back, winning by 25 seconds. It was a masterclass by the Dutchman as he took his third consecutive win on the course. The victory also marks his second-straight win in the World Cup Series.

In the women’s, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) won a five-way fight to take her first World Cup elite win. She jumped clear from the powerful lead group in the final lap to win by six seconds.

The race was the fifth of nine in the World Cup Series. The race in Koksijde, Belgium, is iconic as a result of the deep sand and long rolling hills throughout the course.

Van der Poel takes second World Cup win in a row

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) led the race from the opening lap and another victory never looked in doubt. Eli Iserbyt and Laurens Sweeck (both Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) stayed in contact for the first lap, but by lap two, van der Poel had opened up a gap and continued to extend it through the following laps.

Through lap two to five, van der Poel put in consistently faster times around the course, leaving a group of five around 40 seconds back. Corne van Kessel, Quinten Hermans, Toon Aerts, Lars van der Haar (all Telenet Baloise Lions) and Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) followed behind the race leader, but there was a sense they were racing for second rather than hoping to pull back the world champion.

Van der Poel was able to ride the deep ruts with ease, making sections that others were faltering on look easy. Though his lap times started to slow toward the end of the race, he never looked in trouble.

By the final lap, van der Poel was 30 seconds ahead, with Sweeck leading the chase. He had distanced himself from the rest of the chase group, who were 10 seconds behind him.

Van der Poel was able to ease off the gas and pop a wheelie for the crowds in the final straight of the final lap, with Sweeck following in second, 25 seconds back. Toon Aerts won the race for third, 35 seconds after the race winner.

Men’s Top-3

  1. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): 59:58
  2. Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) : +00:25
  3. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions): +00:35

Alvarado survives pressure from Brand

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

A group of five riders separated themselves from the field in the second lap, made up of Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions), Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus), Yara Kastelijn (777), Annemarie Worst (777) and Inge van der Heijden (CCC-Liv), with Katie Compton (Trek) and Sanne Cant (IKO) chasing behind them.

Alvarado led the front group through the first half of the race, looking comfortable on the steep sandy descents and running the climbs with ease.  Kastelijn stuck close to her wheel while the remaining three yo-yo’d on and off the pace.

Brand came to the fore by the end of lap three and cranked up the pressure. She took a small gap in the fourth lap as she piled on the intensity, but was never able to make a meaningful impact.

By lap five, Brand, Alvarado, and Kastelijn led the race, with Worst and van der Heijden a few seconds back. Brand continued to race at the front, but Alvarado chose her moment and accelerated away from Brand with half a lap to go on a deep sandy section and went clear.

Brand crashed as she led the chase, holding up Kastelijn behind her. With that, Alvarado’s victory was sealed and she rode to victory, six seconds in front. The win sees her go one up on her second place in World Cup Tabor last week.

Women’s Top-3

  1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus): 47:09
  2. Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions): +00:06
  3. Yara Kastelijn (777): +00:08