Events

Valkenburg: Van der Poel solos to victory as Van Aert crashes

Mathieu van der Poel nabs his first World Cup win of the season with a hard-earned victory in Valkenburg

A tenacious field didn’t make it easy in the early goings, but Mathieu van der Poel claimed his first World Cup victory of the season Sunday in Valkenburg.

The Beobank – Corendon rider helped chase down an aggressive first-lap move by Wout Van Aert (Crelan – Vastgoedservice) before getting clear with the reigning world champ, only to be caught back up by a select group of hungry pursuers with a few laps to go. The Dutchman pulled away for good in the seventh of nine laps, however, getting a big boost from Van Aert himself, who hit the deck and caused a logjam in the pursuit. Van der Poel stayed clear solo to take the victory, with Van Aert in second and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux – Napoleon Games) nabbing third.

Top 10

  • 1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), 1:05:13
  • 2. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 1:05:27
  • 3. Michael VANTHOURENHOUT, (BEL), 1:05:34
  • 4. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), 1:05:47
  • 5. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), 1:06:02
  • 6. Toon AERTS, (BEL), 1:06:09
  • 7. Lars VAN DER HAAR, (NED), 1:06:20
  • 8. Corne VAN KESSEL, (NED), 1:06:35
  • 9. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), 1:06:41
  • 10. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), 1:06:46

The racing was hectic from the get-go. Defending champion Lars van der Haar (Giant – Alpecin) took an early tumble that put him out of contention within the first few minutes of the race. Van Aert, meanwhile, wasted little time in motoring away, enjoying an advantage of several seconds by the time he crossed the finish line at the end of lap one.

He couldn’t stave off a determined chase group, however, particularly not with van der Poel in the hunt on home turf in the Netherlands. Van der Poel caught up to Van Aert in the fourth lap, and then the pair powered away together, with Vanthourenhout, his Marlux – Napoleon Games teammate Kevin Pauwels, and Telenet – Fidea’s Toon Aerts and Tom Meeusen in hot pursuit.

While at first it appeared the last several laps might come down to a two-way showdown between the reigning world champion and the rider that preceded him in the rainbow stripes, Vanthourenhout and Meeusen refused to go down without a fight. They caught back up to Van Aert and van der Poel in lap six.

Finally, in lap seven, van der Poel put the hammer down for good, with a big assist from Van Aert. The Belgian fell taking a modest corner, bringing Meeusen down too and slowing up Vanthourenhout, and that was all the help van der Poel needed. After battling through the first seven laps, van der Poel finished the last two trips around the course under little pressure from those behind.

Van Aert, on the other hand, had to fight tooth and nail to get around Vanthourenhout inside the final 500 meters to take runner-up honors, 14 seconds behind van der Poel. Vanthourenhout was third, 21 seconds back.

“In the beginning, Wout was putting me under a lot of pressure but I managed to close the gap,” said van der Poel, who is now on the board in the World Cup standings after missing Cross Vegas and Jingle Cross — both won by Van Aert, who continues to sit atop the leaderboard.

“I had a lot of pain in my back today, but I think my legs were the best they’ve been so far this season. I was really happy with that.”

“I noticed something happened because suddenly the gap was a lot bigger,” he said of the critical late crash just behind him. “The people beside the road told me they fell — but I didn’t know if there were four on the ground or just one so I had to keep the pace high.”

Results

  • 1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), 1:05:13
  • 2. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 1:05:27
  • 3. Michael VANTHOURENHOUT, (BEL), 1:05:34
  • 4. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), 1:05:47
  • 5. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), 1:06:02
  • 6. Toon AERTS, (BEL), 1:06:09
  • 7. Lars VAN DER HAAR, (NED), 1:06:20
  • 8. Corne VAN KESSEL, (NED), 1:06:35
  • 9. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), 1:06:41
  • 10. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), 1:06:46
  • 11. Jens ADAMS, (BEL), 1:07:01
  • 12. Clément VENTURINI, (FRA), 1:07:09
  • 13. Marcel MEISEN, (GER), 1:07:20
  • 14. Stan GODRIE, (NED), 1:07:28
  • 15. Philipp WALSLEBEN, (GER), 1:07:41
  • 16. Simon ZAHNER, (SUI), 1:07:43
  • 17. Michael BOROS, (CZE), 1:07:49
  • 18. Gianni VERMEERSCH, (BEL), 1:07:49
  • 19. Daan SOETE, (BEL), 1:07:52
  • 20. Steve CHAINEL, (FRA), 1:07:57
  • 21. Twan VAN DEN BRAND, (NED), 1:07:58
  • 22. Severin SAEGESSER, (SUI), 1:07:59
  • 23. Jan NESVADBA, (CZE), 1:08:04
  • 24. Daan HOEYBERGHS, (BEL), 1:08:10
  • 25. Martin HARING, (SVK), 1:08:10
  • 26. David VAN DER POEL, (NED), 1:08:16
  • 27. Thijs VAN AMERONGEN, (NED), 1:08:24
  • 28. Dieter VANTHOURENHOUT, (BEL), 1:08:33
  • 29. Marcel WILDHABER, (SUI), 1:08:38
  • 30. Patrick VAN LEEUWEN, (NED), 1:08:51
  • 31. Matthieu BOULO, (FRA), 1:08:56
  • 32. Francis MOUREY, (FRA), 1:09:09
  • 33. Jim AERNOUTS, (BEL), 1:09:27
  • 34. Kevin SUAREZ FERNANDEZ, (ESP), 1:09:43
  • 35. Tomas PAPRSTKA, (CZE), 1:10:00
  • 36. Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ, (ESP), 1:10:05
  • 37. Diether SWEECK, (BEL), 1:10:15
  • 38. Lukas WINTERBERG, (SUI), 1:10:24
  • 39. Alois FALENTA, (FRA), 1:10:37
  • 40. Vincent BAESTAENS, (BEL), 1:10:51
  • 41. Andreas MOSER, (SUI), 1:10:54
  • 42. Nicolas SAMPARISI, (ITA), 1:11:34
  • 43. Michal MALÍK, (CZE), 1:12:04
  • 44. Anthonin DIDIER, (FRA), 1:12:10
  • 45. Matej LASAK, (CZE)
  • 46. Tobin ORTENBLAD, (USA)
  • 47. Sascha WEBER, (GER)
  • 48. Lorenzo SAMPARISI, (ITA)
  • 49. Julien TARAMARCAZ, (SUI)
  • 50. Yu TAKENOUCHI, (JPN)
  • 51. Mariusz GIL, (POL)
  • 52. Christian HELMIG, (LUX)
  • 53. Yoann CORBIHAN, (FRA)
  • 54. Marvin SCHMIDT, (GER)
  • 55. Inigo GOMEZ ELORRIAGA, (ESP)
  • 56. Lex REICHLING, (LUX)