Cyclocross

Van der Poel Wins Number 30 at 2019 Superprestige Hoogstraten – Report – Cyclocross Magazine

by Mathias Dewaelsche

Would Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) take victory number 30 of the season? That was the question on the line at Superprestige Hoogstraten on Sunday.

A muddy track with tricky descents and an off-camber awaited the riders in the Belgian town of Hoogstraten. Whoever won today’s “Strawberry Cross” would definitely go home with a box of strawberries. For Van der Poel, when you’ve won 29 races and have a comfortable lead in the Superprestige Classification, motivation can come in different shapes. 

Aerts was second in that classification, but 10 points behind van der Poel, who had the maximum of the points after winning all six of the Superprestige races this season.

In his pre-race interview, Van der Poel told Telenet that he would maybe ride more economically than in yesterday’s race, where he tried to have a fast start in order to pass the intermediate point in first position, so he could have the 15 bonus seconds and the €2,500 price.

Aerts, on the other hand, was motivated to stick with the new World Champion as best he could. “I will try to go with as long as possible. If it doesn’t work out for the victory, I would like to be on the podium. I want to have been on the podium 30 times this season.” (translated)

Aerts and Van der Poel shared a number of podiums this season. Would it happen again on Sunday? 2018 Superprestige Zonhoven. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions) was the rider with today’s fast start. In the first corner, a few riders crashed. Czech champion Michael Boros (Creafin TUV Sud), among others, was one of the victims.

When the lead group hit the pit area, Hermans and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux – Bingoal) had the lead with a small gap on Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice) and Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts – 777). A lot of riders ran over today’s barriers on the muddy track, but acrobat Van der Poel bunny-hopped the planks, closed the gap on Sweeck and Vermeersch, passed them and started to close the gap on the two leaders.

On today’s off-camber, the solution seemed to be running. Sweeck tried to ride the first trip through but that didn’t seem the best decision. At the end of the first of eight laps, Van der Poel closed the gap and joined two leaders.

Early in the second lap, the pace of the three-headed leading group dropped which allowed Aerts, among others, to come back. On the off-camber, Vanthourenhout got into trouble. He got stuck in the track’s border and lost valuable time.  

Vanthourenhout’s misfortune dropped the lead selection to Aerts, Van der Poel and Hermans entering the third lap. In that circuit, Eli Iserbyt (Marlux – Bingoal) joined as well.

Later in Lap 3, a split in the lead group occurred. Van der Poel accelerated to put pressure on the other riders. Iserbyt hooked to a pole and Hermans couldn’t keep up with the pace. Crossing the line, Van der Poel and Aerts had a 13 seconds advantage on Hermans, who was joined in the meantime by teammate Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions). Iserbyt was in fifth position on 17 seconds.

In the background, David van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) crashed hard, and first responders tried to keep him warm before taking him off the course. On the same spot where the World Champion’s older brother crashed, Vermeersch went a little later as well when his handlebars got stuck in the track’s border.

Towards the end of the fourth lap, Van der Poel rode the off-camber. Apparently, the off-camber was ridable after all. Aerts, however, had to run and had a six seconds arrears entering the fifth lap.

Van der Poel changed bikes at Pit 1 though, which allowed Aerts to come back. Iserbyt, van Kessel and Hermans formed the chasing group. At the end of the fifth lap, they were 28 seconds behind.

Aerts’ maintained his pre-race goal of sticking with the World Champion until the sixth lap. Then, he crashed taking a corner following a rut in the mud. Van der Poel didn’t wait.

Later in that lap, Aerts, who probably tried to close the gap a little too fast, took a line that led him too wide through a corner, which made him lose even more time. At the end of six, Van der Poel had a 14-second advantage on Aerts and a 48-second advantage on Van Kessel, who was about to be joined by Iserbyt.

In a descent that claimed Denise Betsema in the earlier Elite Women’s race, Aerts again made a mistake, setting him back by 23 seconds at the bell. It seemed Van der Poel was going to take his 30th victory of the season. The battle for third place was going to be fought between Van Kessel and Iserbyt, who were already more than a minute behind.

During the last lap, Aerts crashed again. Van der Poel didn’t take any risks and ran over the barriers. Aerts, who turned his eyes toward the chasers in third, did the same thing. Van Kessel tried to get rid of Iserbyt and bunny-hopped. Iserbyt, who also wanted to go on the podium, did the same thing.

Van der Poel, who showed his mastery again when he managed to ride the off-camber for a second time, won his 30th race of the 2018/19 season. Aerts finished second on 37 seconds. Van Kessel won the battle for the last spot on the podium and finished third on 54 seconds. 

“It was a treacherous course,” Van der Poel told Telenet after the race (translated). “When I accelerated a first time, I got a flat tire. I needed a few accelerations to win today.”

Van der Poel fortified his lead in the Superprestige classification and now has an 11-point advantage on Aerts. The max score for any race is 15 points, so Aerts needs a minor miracle to beat Van der Poel in the series overall.

Canadian rider Michael van den Ham (Garneau – Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) finished 30th as first Northern American rider. Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) finished 32nd as first American rider. Eric Thompson (MSpeedwax.com) finished 37th, Andrew Juiliano (GritWorld Racing p/b Voler) 43rd and Dylan Postier (Garneau – Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) 48th.

Full results are below.

Rank BIB Last Name First Name Country Result
1 1 VAN DER POEL Mathieu NED 0:59:42
2 2 AERTS Toon BEL 1:00:19
3 34 VAN KESSEL Corne NED 1:00:36
4 41 ISERBYT Eli BEL 1:00:40
5 42 PIDCOCK Thomas GBR 1:01:03
6 9 HERMANS Quinten BEL 1:01:17
7 6 VAN DER HAAR Lars NED 1:01:32
8 25 NIEUWENHUIS Joris NED 1:01:47
9 14 MEEUSEN Tom BEL 1:01:47
10 13 ADAMS Jens BEL 1:02:06
11 46 TURNER Ben GBR 1:02:07
12 5 VANTHOURENHOUT Michael BEL 1:02:26
13 8 SOETE Daan BEL 1:02:29
14 31 BAESTAENS Vincent BEL 1:02:34
15 21 CLEPPE Nicolas BEL 1:02:47
16 79 ORTS LLORET Felipe ESP 1:03:03
17 11 PAUWELS Kevin BEL 1:03:11
18 22 VANTHOURENHOUT Dieter BEL 1:03:23
19 45 DORIGONI Jakob ITA 1:03:24
20 15 BERTOLINI Gioele ITA 1:03:25
21 64 VANDEPUTTE Niels BEL 1:03:38
22 17 AERTS Thijs BEL 1:03:54
23 19 SWEECK Diether BEL 1:04:14
24 44 VANDEBOSCH Toon BEL 1:04:36
25 24 WOUTERS Sieben NED 1:05:02
26 49 KOPECKÝ Tomas CZE 1:05:21
27 75 VAN COMPERNOLLE Kenneth BEL 1:05:23
28 65 VAN DER STEGEN Roel NED 1:05:41
29 12 BOROŠ Michael CZE 1:05:51
30 81 VAN DEN HAM Michael CAN 1:06:01
31 57 ROMBOUTS Seppe BEL 1:06:23
32 78 WERNER Kerry USA 1:06:32
33 54 MEIN Thomas GBR 1:06:42
34 32 BAKX Kelvin NED -1 LAP
35 47 ROUILLER Loris SUI -1 LAP
36 58 SMETS Gert BEL -1 LAP
37 74 THOMPSON Eric USA -2 LAPS
38 36 DE MEYER Senne BEL -2 LAPS
39 63 VRACHTEN Arne BEL -2 LAPS
40 62 VERHEYEN Thomas BEL -2 LAPS
41 56 PEMEN Dolf BEL -2 LAPS
42 76 LEAERTS Yelle BEL -3 LAPS
43 18 JUILIANO Andrew USA -3 LAPS
44 40 KOYEN Niels BEL -3 LAPS
45 59 TORMANS Siebe BEL -4 LAPS
46 35 MEELBERGHS Pieter BEL -4 LAPS
47 60 DE GROODT Killian BEL -4 LAPS
48 73 POSTIER Dylan USA -4 LAPS
49 33 PARENTI Nicola ITA -4 LAPS
50 80 PAUL Felix GER -5 LAPS
DNF 4 SWEECK Laurens BEL
DNF 7 MERLIER Tim BEL
DNF 10 VAN DER POEL David NED
DNF 16 VERMEERSCH Gianni BEL
DNF 20 BOSMANS Wietse BEL
DNF 23 GODRIE Stan NED
DNF 29 AERNOUTS Jim BEL
DNF 38 EDHOFER Thomas GER
DNF 48 KAMP Ryan NED
DNF 52 MASON Cameron GBR
DNF 68 CAROZZO Marco ITA
DNF 70 ESTEBAN AGUERO Ismael ESP
DNF 72 PEETERS Yannick BEL
DNF 77 VANKEIRSBILCK Berne BEL