Mathieu van der Poel continues to make his mark! After an outstanding chase in the first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race last Sunday at Nove Mesto/Czech Republic were he started in position 90 to finish 8th on his STEVENS Jura Carbon Team, he and his team Beobank-Corendon participated in the Belgian Tour (UCI 2.HC).
On the second stage of this race the 22-year old Dutch Cyclocross Champion gave proof of his sprinting capabilities on the road. He won the sprint from a 13-strong escape group right ahead of overall leader Philippe Gilbert and Wout van Aert on his STEVENS Comet.
But instead of just continuing to ride the additional three stages of the high-ranked tour, he decided to start in the upcoming second UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race of the season in Albstadt. ”It was ”a decision coming from the heart”, he explained and added that he just could not pass on such a unique opportunity. That unique opportunity is a starting slot in the first grid in Albstadt whose starting line-up is made up from the results of the Nove Mesto race.
Even though the Albstadt course was said not to suit him as well as that in Nove Mesto, German online portal rad-net.de called him ”a serious podium contender”. Eventually Mathieu not only overtook most rider – 81 in total but also rode the fastest time together with Olympic and World Champion Nino Schurter.
On the second stage of the Belgian Tour from Knokke-Heist to Moorslede Beobank-Corendon, who have been issued a Continental license for road competitions, presented themselves in good shape. After 40km into the race a 25-strong group escaped including Mathieu, his brother David and Philipp Walsleben all riding a STEVENS Comet. Approaching the finish the group had diminished to 13 riders. Mathieu caught the right rear wheel in the sprint and successfully countered Gilbert’s attack. Wout van Aert came in third.
”I knew the finale would suit me, and my team had put me in a good position beforehand.” In the team classification Beobank-Corendon is ranked 4th after two stages. Best ranked rider of the team after Mathieu van der Poel having dropped out is now Philipp Walsleben in 15th place.