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Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) secured his seventh career title at the Superprestige Diegem, racing nearly half the race solo and winning by 49 seconds ahead of runner-up Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and third-placed Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).
“It was a super nice race. It was a good night,” said Van der Poel, who noted that he was not thinking too much about record wins in Diegem. “I just tried to win as much as possible when I start [a race]. For sure, I have a good record here in Diegem. I felt good today, so I’m happy with the result.”
Van der Poel, who won the editions from 2014-2019, made his winning attack through the sandpit on the fifth lap, and no one could follow the world champion as he orbited the fast and technical circuit with ease.
Iserbyt, who has won the first three rounds, has all but secured the overall series victory before the final round in Noordzeecross.
How it unfolded
The penultimate round of the Superprestige series in Diegem was held under the evening floodlights in front of massive crowds who came out to watch the nighttime race.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) had a strong start, but it was Kevin Kuhn (Circus-Reuz-Technord) who took the holeshot onto the grass and led a group of roughly 12 riders. Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) quickly connected with the back of that group before the circuit’s climb.
Series leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) moved to the front at the start of the second lap with teammate Michael Vanthourenhout on his wheel followed by Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions), Van der Poel, Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions), Emiel Verstrynge (Crelan-Corendon) and Pidcock.
The gusts of winds and the tight, twisty circuit made it even more challenging for riders to gain separation from the large group.
Van der Poel and Pidcock took the lead, carrying speed out of the sandpit on the third lap. The Ineos Grenadiers rider put pressure on to try and reduce the group to just five riders including Van der Poel, Iserbyt, Vanthourenout and Nys.
Van der Poel made a blistering attack through the sandpit and carried so much speed coming out of it that he had already opened a small gap.
Vanthourenout tried to go with the move, but the world champion was already gone. Iserbyt and Pidcock desperately chased, but the pair were eight seconds out of reach as they raced through the start of the fifth lap (of eight).