The Duinencross Koksijde returns on November 21, 2021 after its cancelation due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Known as the cyclocross of the dunes, the seaside cyclocross race is best known for the vast stretches of sand, which riders must power through every lap.
Mathieu van der Poel’s Best Opening Lap
Koksijde was last raced in 2019, an event most memorable for Matheiu van der Poel’s blitz through the field on the opening lap. The world champion was held up due to a large crash in the opening corner of the first lap. Van der Poel simply flew back to the front of the race, joining Laurens Sweeck to assume the lead of the race at the end of the opening lap. Van der Poel would go on to win the race with relative ease, calling it one of his best opening laps ever in the post-race interview.
The women’s race in 2019 was a more closely contested affair. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado just managed to get the better of Lucinda Brand and Yara Kastelijn in the final moments of the race.
Some Struggle In Sand, Others Thrive
Expect to see unpredictable racing once again in the men’s and women’s editions of Koksijde this November. Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock are not slated to return to cyclocross until December, and while Eli Iserbyt holds a strong lead in the World Cup standings, sand races are not his forte. If Iserbyt struggles as he did in 2019, this could open the door for Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout to close in on the World Cup lead.
The margins in the women’s field are even slimmer, with Lucinda Brand and Denise Betsema in a dead heat for the series lead after Overijse. Betsema, who lives on a Dutch island is a master of sand riding, and will hope to put some distance between herself and the world champion in Koksijde.