Mathieu van der Poel had to acknowledge his superior in Wout van Aert in the past crosses, but today in Herentals the roles were reversed. The Dutchman crossed the line first, although after a new titan duel in the final round he took full advantage of a flat tire from his Belgian rival. The year is three days old and so it was high time for a new duel between Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. The X2O Bathrooms Trophy in Herentals had that honor today, and both cyclo-cross riders were at the appointment. The cross fans were again presented with a fascinating fight, although the cross had an anticlimax. Van Aert had a puncture in the final lap, when passing the material station.
Modest celebration in Herentals
Van der Poel also saw this, who therefore also celebrated his victory in a modest way. “I decided not to celebrate at the finish line as I would have preferred to beat him without the puncture. The plan was to be the first to dive into the technical zone, but just before that Wout had a leak. It’s a pity he couldn’t defend his chances.” “I wanted to have something left over for the last half round”
Remarkable: Van der Poel kept himself quite aloof during the cross, certainly for his doing. That was a deliberate tactic, he said after the race. “Today I rode differently than the previous races. I wanted to have something left over for the last half round. We were evenly matched again today.” If we look at the mutual encounters this cyclocross season, it is now 4-3 in favor of Van Aert. It shows we’re not going to be bored in the coming weeks. Cross is still very exciting and the battle between Van der Poel, Van Aert and Pidcock will continue. Free bets are flying in on the World Championship cyclo-cross at the end of this month.