Mathieu van der Poel world champion after an epic duel with Wout Van Aert
A little over three minutes… It didn’t take long, Sunday February 5, in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands, for Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert to take to the open lead in the world cycling championship. -cross and offers the tens of thousands of spectators present the duel that all enthusiasts of the discipline have been waiting for. At the end of the ten laps of the circuit and a fight at every moment, every bend, every restart, it was finally the Dutchman Van der Poel who won the world title, his fifth, with a breath in front of the Belgian guy.
Restituting all the passes of arms between “WVA” and “VDP”, both 28 years old, is an almost impossible exercise as the two men have multiplied the sudden accelerations on a circuit which alternates grassy passages, often covered with dead leaves, muddy areas, footbridges, stairs to climb on your back, steep descents full of ruts, jump boards in perfect timing and a few strips of asphalt.
The powerful thrust of VDP
During the first nine laps (out of ten), Mathieu Van der Poel was the most attacking, only rarely leaving it to Wout Van Aert to lead the pace. But the Belgian, who sometimes seemed on the verge of cracking, always managed to come back into contact with VDP. In the last kilometers, between the plucked trees and in the white light of a beautiful winter sun, the two men took turns in the lead, at full speed, before explaining themselves during a final sprint. . In this exercise, Van Aert, green jersey for the Tour de France 2022, was surprised by the powerful thrust of VDP, who managed to take the few meters lead leading to the world title.
WHAT. A. BATTLE. ? Mathieu van der Poel ?? does it! He is your 2023 UCI Cyclo-cross Men Elite World Champion! ?… https://t.co/3oQY2gI1Xi
This thrilling duel between these two riders capable of enlivening the winter season in the undergrowth like the road races the rest of the year is the peak of a cyclo-cross season marked by their opposition. Before Sunday’s race at Hoogerheide, as part of the World Cup, in thirteen races, Van Aert had won nine times. In the other four events, he was second, still behind Van der Poel.
The first Frenchman, Clément Venturini, finished 10th, 1’30” behind the two giants. Belgian Eli Iserbyt completed the podium, crossing the line 12 seconds after Van der Poel. Sunday morning, however, the tricolors were honored with the victory of Léo Bisiaux in the juniors (under 19). “I had a lot of pressure but it was positive for me, I was ready for the battle against the Belgians and the Dutch”said the one who is also champion of France.
On Saturday February 4, on the same circuit, the Dutch Fem van Empel became world champion ahead of her compatriots Puck Pieterse and Lucinda Brand. Van Empel, 20, already crowned European champion this winter, succeeds her compatriot Marianne Vos who, injured, had given up defending her title.