Sanne Cant and Mathieu van der Poel successfully defended their respective White Jerseys to stay overall leaders in the Cyclocross World Cup. Sanne Cant rode to her third victory of the current season on a difficult and muddy course. Mathieu van der Poel rode a strong come-back race after he fell back to 13th position when his chain got stuck and finished second.
It had rained the whole week before the World Cup race in Zeven, so there was a lot of water on the fairground where the race was held. This meant for the riders deep and muddy ground with many carry sections instead of the fast grassland course of last year. Lap times were about two minutes slower than the year before.
So far, Mathieu van der Poel had won all four previous World Cup races of the season, the most recent one in Bogense, Denmark. In the fifth race it again looked as if he could keep this perfect season alive. He was in a head group together with Lars van der Haar, who was first to set the pace, and World Champion Wout van Aert braking away early for a lead of a few seconds.
About after a third into the race van der Poel had to climb off his bike to fix a chainsuck.
This took about 30 seconds which Wout van Aert took advantage of to increase the gap. So, Mathieu van der Poel fell behind to 13th position which resulted in a similar situation like the year before, when after a bad start from position 11, Mathieu managed to ride to victory. This year the current European Champion was about to repeat this kind of chase. Two laps later he had fought his way back to second place.
The gap between him and van Aert still was about 30 seconds at this time. ”For a moment I tried to close the gap but after a while I had to accept that today it was impossible to catch up to Wout. So he took care of securing his second place against Toon Aerts who had followed closely and now still keeps a 90-points advantage in the World Cup overall ranking. Marcel Meisen finished strongly in 8th place to become best German rider. Also riding STEVENS Super Prestige Tom Meeusen and David van der Poel (both Beobank Corendon) finished in place 10 and 12, respectively.
In the Women’s Elite race Sanne Cant had to deal with Helen Wyman und Katherine Compton for quite some time. They took turns at the front until in the fourth lap the European and World Champion could open a gap between her and Wyman. At the finish line it was 12 seconds in front of Wyman and 23 over Katherine Compton – the third World Cup win for Sanne Cant: ”Of course I am very pleased with this result. I had expected Katie and Helen to be the strongest competitors but I hadn’t though that I would be so much better today.”
The Men’s U23 race was won by Eli Iserbyt in front of Thijs Aerts and Thomas Joseph (all Belgium). On STEVENS Super Prestige Toon Vandebosch finishes 5th, Adam Toupalik 8th and Jens Dekker (all Beobank-Corendon) in 10th place. For STEVENS Racing Team, Paul Lindenau rides to a respectable result with a 29th place.
His team mate Tom Lindner in his first U19 season finished the race in a good 9th place and also David Westhoff-Wittwer came in 17th also very good. Tom Lindner: ”I got a very good start and the mass crash in the first lap couldn’t stop me.” During the course of the race he always kept close to the lead group in fifth position most of the time. A crash in the final lap eventually made him pay tribute to the previously high pace and he had to slow down, yet was able to at least secure a 9th place.
Interesting Course, Very Spectator-Friendly
The second Telenet UCI World Cup in Zeven, just like the premiere, offered top-level cyclocross action. What contributed to the great experience for the 6,000 spectators was the layout of the Zeven fairground, enabling to follow the race from everywhere along the course. Under the auspices of former Elite Racer Hanka Kupfernagel some sections of the course had been modified to show the character of the surrounding landscape: Hill traverses, grassland, a now steeper and more selective climb over the hill, and all in all much better to overlook.
From the center of the fairground it was only a short walk to all sections of the course and there were many strategically-placed shortcuts. Knowledgeable commentators also provided useful instructions to the public. By adding countless exhibition booths and food stands the World Cup Race in became a complete event that’s waiting to be repeated next year.