Mathieu van der Poel didn’t win the UCI CX World Cup on Sunday, but at one point, it sure looked like he was on track to.
“I didn’t have freshest legs,” van der Poel said after the race, where he finished fifth.
The world champion has been in the middle of a hefty training block, and even rode the 40 km from his secondary home in Spain to the race course. Although a late race crash ruined his chances of a win–and continuing his undefeated streak, he definitely showed some flashes of brilliance.
Wout van Aert would instead triumph–and he was the only rider that looked to be able to keep up with van der Poel on certain sections. Michael Vanthourenhout rode a great race to finish second–but could not match the Visma-Lease a Bike rider when he attacked on the a climb towards the end of the course.
The Big Three–MvdP, van Aert and Tom Pidcock, had to make up quite a bit of ground given their starting positions. After one lap van Aert was 12th, Pidcock 15th, and van der Poel was back in 19th.
As the course was fast, and riders strung out, it was hard to find spots to move up. The longish climb toward the finish, however, was a great spot. Van Aert, Pidcock, and most notably van der Poel used it to pass riders.
On lap 3, you can see him passing eight riders. These aren’t just any racers, but some of the best ‘cross riders in the world. He would ultimately catch the lead group, but the crash put him out of contention.
Still, watch this mofo and his utterly insane power up this climb.
¿Es un pájaro? ¿Es un avión?
¡Parece que compite contra juveniles!
— Teledeporte (@teledeporte) January 21, 2024