Mathieu van der Poel’s tears where of a different kind. All in all five punctures had thwarted him while being in front so that Wout van Aert, who only had to deal with a single flat tire, managed to close the gap to the Dutch Champion. Another flat tire on van der Poel’s bike eventually gave van Aert the decisive advantage to for repeating his title from the previous year.
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert were the outstanding riders of the year. From the beginning of the season until New Year both had shared all major race wins among them – except for the European Championships which were won by Toon Aerts from Belgium.
For the Worlds van der Poel had prepared himself in a special training camp in Spain which he intentionally had skipped a World Cup race in Italy for. He gave prove of his top form by winning six races in a row after the Worlds – this way securing the overall victory in the Superprestige Series. This series was a thriller until the end: Though van der Poel had won almost all the races, van Aert always had become second.
In the first half of the season it was mostly Kevin Pauwels and often Laurens Sweeck to share the podium with the two serial winners – all in all the ERA-circus captain reached the top three 15 times including two victories. These are added by consistent top-ten placings and a third place in the Superprestige Series.
Also riding a STEVENS Super Prestige David van der Poel won two races and gathered several top-15 spots and Wietse Bosmans (both Beobank-Corendon) who had regained his strength was busy collecting World Ranking points in his C1 and C2 races, which he usually finished on the podium or no worse than 12th.