Events

Gieten: Van der Poel outduels Van Aert

Van der Poel wins a hotly contested Superprestige Gieten after a dropped chain derails Van Aert in the final moments of the race

After battling tooth and nail over the course of 11 laps at Superprestige Gieten on Sunday, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank – Corendon) triumphed over Wout Van Aert (Crelan – Vastgoedservice) to take his first win of the season. Overcoming a prior crash, van der Poel put the reigning world champ into the rearview mirror in the final moments of the race when Van Aert suffered a dropped chain at the worst possible time.

The Dutch winner of the 2015 world championships ultimately crossed the line eight seconds ahead of his Belgian successor, with Laurens Sweeck (Era – Circus) claiming third a further five seconds down.

Top 10

  • 1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), 58:35
  • 2. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 58:43
  • 3. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), 58:48
  • 4. Jens ADAMS, (BEL), 58:51
  • 5. Toon AERTS, (BEL), 58:57
  • 6. Klaas VANTORNOUT, (BEL), 59:00
  • 7. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), 59:14
  • 8. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), 59:17
  • 9. David VAN DER POEL, (NED), 59:18
  • 10. Lars VAN DER HAAR, (NED), 59:33

Van der Poel and Van Aert made it clear early on in the race that they were the riders to beat in Gieten. After Telenet – Fidea’s Tom Meeusen led a mostly compact field over the finish line to close out the first lap, van der Poel began to apply pressure at the front, stringing things out considerably. The Dutchman was the first across the line at the end of lap two with a small advantage over Van Aert and the rest of the field, and then Van Aert bridged the gap.

From there, the pair went to work to quickly distance the pack. A three-second advantage at the end of the third lap had grown to eight after four laps, with Meeusen, Sweeck, and Toon Aerts (Telenet – Fidea) coalescing into the first chasing group behind the leaders.

Towards the end of lap six, van der Poel managed to pull out a small gap over Van Aert, but he lost all the ground he’d gained when he hit the deck trying to bunny hop a pair of barriers. However, a quick remount ensured that the race remained tight at the front.

By the eighth lap, the chasing trio fell apart as Sweeck began to pull away. Midway through the ninth lap, Sweeck actually managed to latch on to the two leaders for a few moments before losing contact again, setting up a two-way battle for the win.

With some assistance from a stretch of sand that seemed determined to derail Van Aert, it was van der Poel who would triumph in the finale. The 21-year-old surged into a small lead in the tenth lap when Van Aert struggled to navigate the deep sand that stood as the final obstacle of each lap on the Gieten circuit. Van Aert managed to close the distance for the 11th lap, but disaster struck at the very same spot the final time through, just moments before what would have likely been a two-man sprint to the line.

Deadlocked as they neared the finish, both riders dismounted to take on the sand, and they were still neck-and-neck as they prepared to remount for the final push — but when the duo jumped back into the saddle, van der Poel suddenly pulled away as Van Aert turned the pedals futilely on a dropped chain. By the time Van Aert had realized the problem, dismounted, adjusted his chain, and remounted again, van der Poel was celebrating the Superprestige win.

In a tight battle for the victory moments before, Van Aert was left to wonder what might have been, pushing hard down the finishing straight just to ensure his runner-up position. Sweeck rounded out the podium in third.

Results

  • 1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), 58:35
  • 2. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 58:43
  • 3. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), 58:48
  • 4. Jens ADAMS, (BEL), 58:51
  • 5. Toon AERTS, (BEL), 58:57
  • 6. Klaas VANTORNOUT, (BEL), 59:00
  • 7. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), 59:14
  • 8. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), 59:17
  • 9. David VAN DER POEL, (NED), 59:18
  • 10. Lars VAN DER HAAR, (NED), 59:33
  • 11. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), 59:43
  • 12. Vincent BAESTAENS, (BEL), 59:50
  • 13. Michael BOROS, (CZE), 1:00:01
  • 14. Diether SWEECK, (BEL), 1:00:17
  • 15. Corne VAN KESSEL, (NED), 1:00:44
  • 16. Gianni VERMEERSCH, (BEL), 1:00:48
  • 17. Twan VAN DEN BRAND, (NED), 1:00:49
  • 18. Julien TARAMARCAZ, (SUI), 1:00:50
  • 19. Daan HOEYBERGHS, (BEL), 1:01:03
  • 20. Patrick VAN LEEUWEN, (NED), 1:01:05
  • 21. Joeri ADAMS, (BEL), 1:01:10
  • 22. Stan GODRIE, (NED), 1:01:22
  • 23. Gert-Jan BOSMAN, (NED), 1:02:33
  • 24. Niels WUBBEN, (NED), 1:03:19
  • 25. Jens VANDEKINDEREN, (BEL), 1:03:24
  • 26. Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE, (BEL)
  • 27. Thijs AL, (NED)
  • 28. Michiel VAN DER HEIJDEN, (NED)
  • 29. Quincy VENS, (BEL)
  • 30. Kevin CANT, (BEL)
  • 31. Yu TAKENOUCHI, (JPN)
  • 32. Bart BARKHUIS, (NED)
  • DNF Philipp WALSLEBEN, (GER)
  • DNF Rob PEETERS, (BEL)
  • DNF Thijs VAN AMERONGEN, (NED)