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Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images (FILE)

Van der Poel winning streak brought to an end by Aerts

Toon Aerts soloed to victory at DVV Trofee Hotondcross Saturday, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado won crash-filled race in the women's.

Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) soloed to an impressive win in the mud of DVV Trofee Hotondcross, Saturday.

Aert’s victory ended Mathieu van der Poel‘s (Corendon-Circus) spell of 36-consecutive ‘cross victories. The world champion had to make do with ‘only’ third after he was bettered by both Belgian champion Aerts, and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), who took second place.

Aerts went away early on the muddy, tricky course in Ronse, Belgium. By half-way through the race he had a margin of 30-seconds over van der Poel and Iserbyt, who had separated from a chase pack. Aerts looked totally at ease in the mud, steadily building his gap over the chase pair, who remained locked together.

It wasn’t until the final lap that Iserbyt pulled away from van der Poel and quickly built a gap.

Aerts continued to the line with confidence, winning by 1:30.

Iserbyt continued to grow his lead over van der Poel in the final lap, beating the world champion by 44-seconds. Van der Poel lacked his usual grace as he fought with the mud, with Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) coming close to grabbing third place in the final minute. It was too little too late for Vanthourenhout however, who finished fourth, four seconds behind van der Poel.

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) won a women’s race marked by slips and crashes in the wet mud. Annemarie Worst and Yara Kastelijn (both Team 777) took second and third respectively.

Alvarado was able to avoid the chaos of a crash in the tightly-packed bunch in the first lap and got away solo. Worst led the chase, with, Kastelijn and Sanne Cant (Iko-Crelan) behind her. As the race progressed, the gaps between the top-four gradually grew, with Alvarado leading by nearly 30 seconds. Worst was nearly one minute ahead of third-place Kastelijn in the final lap.

Cant’s chances of grabbing a podium spot were brought to an end in the final lap when she crashed, leaving her to be overtaken by Evie Richards (Trek), who took fourth.

Men’s Top-3

  1. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions): 0:55:54
  2. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): +01:30
  3. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): +02:14

Women’s Top-3

  1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus): 0:45:20
  2. Annemarie Worst (777): +00:21
  3. Yara Kastelijn (777): +01:12