Just a little over an hour after fellow reigning cyclocross world champion Thalita de Jong claimed the fifth round of the women’s Superprestige at Spa-Francrchamps on Saturday, Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) took home the elite men’s race over Dutch rival Mathieu Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), who topped van Aert in the fifth round of the UCI World Cup round in Zeven, Germany last week.
Van Aert’s win on home soil denied the 21-year-old van der Poel a fifth straight Superprestige victory in the 2016/17 season. It also marks his second win on the Raidillon, however it is the 22-year-old Belgian’s first Superprestige victory of the season and his first win since the Koppenberg on November 1.
“It was nice to win again,” said van Aert. “I’m simply very happy here. Whether this victory is a response to the criticism of the last month? Well, I knew the shape was good. I never doubted and am glad I showed it today … the main conclusion today is that I have gained back some confidence with this victory for the busy month of December. ”
Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea Lions) recorded the best start on the day, followed by David Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), Jens Vandekinderen (Kalas-NNOF), Mathieu Van der Poel and van Aert. At the beginning of the second lap, Mathieu Van der Poel slipped into the lead, followed by van Aert and Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea Lions).
It was van Aert’s smooth ascent up the infamous ‘Wall,’ a barrier with a gradient of up to 45 percent, where he was able to open the gap on van der Poel and pull away with the win.
Van der Poel held on to second place, and remains the overall series leader, while Aerts finished third. In men’s under-23 (U23) action, Belgian Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Fidea Lions) claimed the win over teammate and countryman Thijs Aerts in second and Dutch cyclist Joris Nieuwenhuis (Rabobank Development Team) in third.
Only three rounds remain, with the next Superprestige in Diegem scheduled for December 23.
- 1. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 1:00:43
- 2. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), +00:32
- 3. Toon AERTS, (BEL), +00:35
- 4. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), +01:25
- 5. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), +01:32
- 6. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), +01:38
- 7. Jens ADAMS, (BEL), +01:40
- 8. Philipp WALSLEBEN, (BEL), +01:53
- 9. Klaas VANTORNOUT, (BEL), +02:19
- 10. Stephen HYDE, (USA), +02:30
- 11. Thijs VAN AMERONGEN, (NED), +03:13
- 12. David VAN DER POEL, (NED), +03:55
- 13. Julien TARAMARCAZ, (SUI), +03:59
- 14. Stan GODRIE, (NED), +04:14
- 15. Diether SWEECK, (BEL), +04:44
- 16. Jens VANDEKINDEREN, (BEL), +04:50
- 17. Joeri ADAMS, (NED), +05:13