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Cyclocross

Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, Tom Pidcock set to clash at Hulst World Cup

Organizers have said that the three riders have confirmed their intentions to ride the event on November 27.

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Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Tom Pidcock could meet on the cyclocross fields for the first time this season at the Hulst round of the World Cup at the end of November.

Organizer Kurt Varnimmen told Dutch publication Omroep Zeeland that the three riders have confirmed their intention to race at the event, which takes place on November 27.

It will be the first time since Heusden-Zolder last December that the trio was all at the same race, with Van der Poel missing most of last season due to back and knee injuries.

“I have spoken to the managers of Mathieu and Wout and they have said that they will come, but you never know for sure. They can suddenly have other obligations, but we assume that they will appear at the start,” Vernimmen told Omroep Zeeland.

The elite races in Hulst will take place earlier than normal so as to avoid clashing with a soccer World Cup match, with the women setting off at 11:00 am CET and the men at 12:15 CET.

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World champion Pidcock hasn’t raced cyclocross since winning his first elite world title in Fayetteville in January this year. He indicated at the recent unveiling of next year’s Tour de France route that he would be starting his ‘cross campaign before the end of November.

Pidcock is set to debut his rainbow bands for the first time the weekend before. Pidcock hasn’t confirmed his calendar yet, but Belgian publication Het Nieuwsblad reported that he will ride the Merksplas Superprestige and the Overijse round of the World Cup on November 19 and 20.

Van Aert and Van der Poel have been fairly quiet since ending their road seasons. Van Aert stopped racing after the UCI Road World Championships, where he finished fourth behind his teammate Remco Evenepoel. Van der Poel continued racing into October with a series of gravel races, including the first UCI Gravel World Championships where he took a bronze medal.

Van Aert won all but one race he competed in last season, with Hulst the only one he was unable to take victory in. On that occasion, he finished fourth with Pidcock going on to claim the win. Despite his dominating form, Van Aert chose to skip the world championships to focus on his classics campaign on the road.

Van der Poel contested just two cyclocross events last season at Dendermonde and Heusden-Zolder. He pulled out of the latter after suffering with back pain, something that had been troubling him for several months and would force him to put an end to his CX season. He had already delayed his start after injuring his knee in a training accident.