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Carsten Schabacher

Serial Winner and World Champion

Mathieu van der Poel (22 victories) and Sanne Cant (19 victories) are the dominating riders of this Cyclocross season aboard their STEVENS Super Prestige bikes.

A familiar picture of the 2016/17 season - Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant riding STEVENS Super Prestige to first place

If there was an unofficial STEVENS cyclocross ranking, Mathieu van der Poel would have clearly surpassed Sanne Cant in the season finale. After the season was over it stood 22 to 19 victories for the Dutch Champion.

After the Worlds on January 28/29 in Bieles/Luxemburg where he suffered multiple mechanicals and finished – for him a heartbroken – second, he went all out to confirm his outstanding position and won six races in a row.

For Sanne Cant it was rather being free from pressure, after all she had reached her ultimate goal to become World Champion in Bieles after a tough fight. She did not give up even when she suffered a mechanical and beat seven-times World Champion Marianne Vos in the sprint.

Her start into the season was not as strong as usual while there also was more competition in the Women’s Elite, with Marianne Vos who had regained her strength and riders like Katherine Nash and Katie Compton.

Though Sanne Cant won the Superprestige Series in a sovereign fashion, she only became second in the World Cup GC behind Sophie de Boer. In the World Championship race on a slippery and therefore technically demanding course just until shortly before the finish, it also had looked as if she was about to end up one step lower on the podium. Marianne Vos was - also because Sanne had fallen behind with a mechanical - in front all alone and pushing strongly.

Yet, it would pay for the Belgian Champion not to give up, because in the final lap Vos also had to deal with chainsuck. From this moment on the two went head to head but eventually Cant got to the finish line first and even had time to celebrate – it was ”the happiest day in my whole life”, Sanne Cant said in her very first interview after the race, this time crying tears of joy.

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.

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