Mathieu van der Poel has once again tested his legs in the last World Cup cyclocross race of the season with a view to the World Cup next week in Hoogerheide. The Dutchman from Alpecin-Deceuninck accelerated in the cross of the French Besançon in the fourth of nine rounds and then soloed to victory. At a good distance, the Belgian Laurens Sweeck, who was already certain of the overall victory in the World Cup, was second. The Dutchman Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise-Trek Lions) won the sprint for third place. Van der Poel is the top favorite for the world title together with the Belgian Wout van Aert in a week on Sunday. Van Aert had opted for a cross in Hamme, Belgium this weekend and, as expected, was the best there.
Heavy race in Besançon
“It was tough to make a difference right from the start,” Van der Poel looked back. “I deliberately waited, but I knew that on this fast course it was best to get ahead alone. For example, I had a large group behind me, in which they looked at each other. Once I had a head start, I continued at my own pace.” Van der Poel won three of the five crosses in which he participated this calendar year. Van Aert was stronger twice, in both matches the Dutchman complained about back problems. Last week, Van der Poel seemed to have recovered reasonably well and he defeated the Belgian, who was missing in Besançon on Sunday.
Rest for next weekend
“With some rest in the coming days, I will hopefully be at my best on Sunday,” the four-time world champion looked ahead to the “home game” in Hoogerheide. “Of course it depends on the legs of the day. I think the relationship with Wout is 50/50. Wout beat me a few times. Hopefully I can offer resistance and we are evenly matched.” Free bets offers are available for both riders!
Chain problems don’t bother Pieterse
After Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse has also shown that she is ready for the Cyclocross World Cup next week in Hoogerheide. Dutch champion Pieterse won the last cross for the World Cup in Besançon, France. Van Empel, who already secured the overall victory last week, was missing. The Brabant, just like Pieterse 20 years old, had already been the best on Saturday at a cross in Hamme, Belgium. Pieterse, who rides for the Alpecin-Deceuninck team, had some setbacks in the opening lap with a jammed chain. After a round of chasing, the Amersfoortse joined again, after which she left the competition behind not much later. Annemarie Worst and Inge van der Heijden, teammates at 777, became her pursuers. Worst finished second at 37 seconds, followed by Van der Heijden.
Pieterse took courage – insofar as that was still necessary – from her performance in Besançon. “After Fem’s victory yesterday in Hamme, I also wanted to show what I am worth,” she said after her eighth victory of the season. Pieterse won four World Cup competitions and finished second behind Van Empel in the standings. The problem with her chain was a “setback”, but she quickly dealt with it. “I saw that there was a fairly large group at the front. It took some energy, but I was quickly back in the front. I was able to recover for a while and then decided to continue solo.”
In the direction of the World Championship, Pieterse said that he would rest well. “Today we are still driving home, in two times or directly. After that it will be a bit of quiet training and rest. The World Championship is certainly not a competition like any other. It’s what I’ve been training so hard for lately.” The women will compete for the rainbow jersey on Saturday. Defending champion Marianne Vos is missing.