At the end of the Cyclocross World Championships in Bogense the long-expected duel between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert – between the most-outstanding rider of the season and the reigning World Champions – was finally on. In the first lap a lead group of eight riders mostly from the Netherlands and Belgium had formed, only one rider from Spain shook up the almost all orange and blue picture.
On the fast course the group remained together for a long time until in the third lap Mathieu van der Poel went for the decisive attack after having tackled a climb in superior fashion. His competitors had to dismount though, therefore losing valuable seconds. Wout van Aert went for the chase shortly after also dropping the group. In the fifth lap he had caught up to his rival and both rode the consecutive half lap together. The climb to the top of a dike with the Church of Bogense in the background became the key section of this race: Again, Mathieu van der Poel rode the climb on his bike with his rear wheel slipping occasionally only. Wout van Aert had to dismount, though, which cost him four seconds. He was able to stay within visual range, remaining the only rider who could have posted a threat to van der Poel.
During the course of the race the gap grew up to 35 seconds while Toon Aerts, the current Belgian Champion caught up to Wout van Aert. Both attacked over and over and each time one answered the other one’s attack. In the final lap Aerts was ahead by a couple of meters when he slipped in a curve, so van Aert passed him and secured his second place. After an almost flawless race – only in lap nine he was forced to dismount at the aforementioned hill – Mathieu van der Poel becomes World Champion for the second time after 2015 (when in Tabor he also won on a STEVENS Super Prestige). Congratulations!
Wout van Aert was one of the first to congratulate the new Champion truly sportsmanlike and on the podium he eventually was even able to smile again.
Behind Wout van Aert other STEVEN Super Prestige riders rode to strong top ten finishes: Laurens Sweeck and Jens Adams of team Pauwels Sauzen Vastgoedservice come in at fifth and ninth, Gianni Vermeersch of team Steylaerts 777 finishes a good tenth. Beste German rider is Marcel Meisen in a respectable eighth. Also congratulations from all of us!