Worst wins from sprint, van der Poel goes solo to take Superprestige Diegem

Van der Poel continues long unbeaten run on the fast, floodlit urban course in Diegem.

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Annemarie Worst (777) took victories at Superprestige Diegem, Sunday.

The early evening race was set under lights and wound through the edge of the Belgian town Diegem, drawing huge crowds. The course was dry and mostly flat, with road sections mixed with sand, obstacles, and stairs.

The fast-rolling course allowed for road-style racing, and that was the main feature in the women’s race, where Worst took victory from a two-up sprint over Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus). The pair went away with Yara Kastelijn (777) from a group of five on the final lap to contest the victory.

Van der Poel was once again unstoppable in the men’s race, going solo from midway through the event to win by nine seconds.

Worst (left) took it from a sprint by the narrowest of margins. Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

The women’s race was dominated by a bunch of five riders that formed at the front midway through the race.

Worst, Alvarado, Kastelijn, Inge van der Heijden (CCC-Liv) and Shirin van Anrooj went off the front on lap 2, with only Sanne Cant (IKO) close behind in the chase.

Worst piled the pressure on the group through lap 4, with van der Heijden and van Anrooj on the limit at the back.

Going into lap 5, the race had come down to three at the front, with Worst, Alvarado and Kastelijn in contention. The 777 pair were able to attack and counter-attack Alvarado through lap 5. Alvarado looked up to the challenge however, and was able to exert her own pressure on the teammates when she went to the front of the group.

Kastelijn fell off the pace as the leaders rounded the final bends of the final lap, leaving Worst to outpower Alvarado in the dragging uphill sprint to the line. Kastelijn took third, 8 seconds back.

Women’s Top-3

  1. Annemarie Worst (777): 43:18
  2. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus): S.T.
  3. Yara Kastelijn (777): +00:08
Early evening racing through the edge of town drew massive crowds all around the course. Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

Van der Poel dropped long-time challenger Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in lap 4 to continue his dominant run of victories this ‘cross season. The Dutchman has never been beaten on the course.

Iserbyt and van der Poel led the race from lap 3, with Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads), Corne van Kessel (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Tom Pidcock (Trinity) chasing a few seconds back. The pair were able to extend their lead through lap 3, with the chasers behind failing to work together through the paved areas of the course.

Van der Poel used his power on the road sections to attack midway through lap 4 and quickly grew a large gap over Iserbyt. Behind him, Iserbyt, Merlier, van Kessel, Laurens Sweeck, and Michael Vanthourenhout (both Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) formed a chase group.

While van der Poel continued to grow his gap at the front, the chase pack splintered. With two laps to go, van der Poel had over 20 seconds of a gap, with Iserbyt leading the chase and Vanthourenhout a few seconds behind him.

There was no change to the positions from there, and van der Poel’s advantage was so gerat in the final lap that he was able to ease off in the final sections to relish his victory in front of the crowds. Iserbyt finished nine seconds back, and 21 seconds after, Vanthorenhout took third.

Men’s Top-3

  1. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): 59:41
  2. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): +00:09
  3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): +00:28