Van Aert mate van der Poel

A little over a month before the cyclo-cross world championships, Wout Van Aert won the first duel of the season against Mathieu van der Poel on the Dendermonde circuit.

The duel was expected, it did take place. While Wout Van Aert made his return to the Cyclo-cross World Cup circuit with a victory in the snow of Val di Sole on December 12, Mathieu van der Poel waited for this stage in Dendermonde to return to the discipline of which he is a quadruple world champion. But, a few weeks away from defending the rainbow jersey he has been wearing for three years, Raymond Poulidor’s grandson could see that he still had work to do before claiming to get the best of his. main rival on the circuit of Fayetteville, in the United States, on January 30th. On the demanding East Flanders track, Wout Van Aert was the strongest. If Toon Aerts, third in the World Cup standings before this 12th round of the season, has taken the best flight for the benefit of his good position on the starting grid, the Van Aert-van der Poel duel quickly took center stage. Indeed, very quickly, the top three widened the gap on the competition.

Van Aert a fait céder van der Poel

Winner at Namur last weekend, Michael Vanthourenout was never able to keep pace and finished nearly two minutes behind. Careful in the first two laps of a circuit degraded by complicated weather conditions which turned the earth into mud, Mathieu van der Poel hung up the Wout Van Aert wagon and seemed to regain his feelings. But it will not have lasted beyond the halfway point. Much more fit and ready for the specific efforts of cyclo-cross, the Belgian champion widened the gap irremediably. Mathieu van der Poel, in the second half of the event, conceded nearly 20 seconds per lap to his rival, who managed his effort perfectly and showed patience. After a little over an hour of effort and for the last race of a successful year, Wout Van Aert takes a victory that is unchallenged with 49 seconds ahead of Mathieu van der Poel while Toon Aerts, who gave everything to resist, completed the podium. After signing his first victory at Rucphen on December 18, Briton Tom Pidcock could not do better than eighth, almost three minutes behind. The duel is launched and it promises a spectacle.

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