Monday January 1, 2024 at 3:58 PM

Mathieu van der Poel won the GP Sven Nys with a great display of power. In the first lap and a half he tolerated Wout van Aert and Pim Ronhaar in his vicinity, but after that he lagged far behind the competition. Van Aert came second, Ronhaar third.

The new year promised to start well for the cross enthusiast. In the X2O Trophy Baal, the Big Three were immediately back in action, and the tough, muddy course seemed to offer Wout van Aert opportunities to finally really put his foot next to Mathieu van der Poel. That was also the case in the first round. While Pidcock soon found himself lagging behind, Van Aert and Van der Poel had a good start. They took turns at the top of the race, although it was mainly the Belgian who took the initiative.

Van der Poel places his gear
Pim Ronhaar managed to make the jump to the illustrious duo at the front at the end of the lap, and so we started the second lap with three leaders. At the beginning of that round, Van Aert continued to throw himself around. Ronhaar lay on the stretcher, Van der Poel nestled in the wheel. Until Van Aert made a slip in the mud. The world champion passed and immediately gave up.

Van Aert started strong – photo: Cor Vos

It would prove to be the decisive move. Before the next finish passage, Van der Poel cycled ten seconds, after which his lead quickly increased to twenty seconds. In the meantime, Ronhaar had rejoined Van Aert and even took over the Dutchman from the Visma | rider Lease a Bike. Behind this duo was Tom Pidcock, who had moved up to fourth place after a catch-up race. Michael Vanthourenhout and Lars van der Haar were numbers five and six in the race, the well-started Thibau Nys had fallen to seventh place.

Convincing victory
We had to focus on these places in the remainder of the cross, the battle for victory was over. Van der Poel continued to lag behind Van Aert, who in turn had left Ronhaar behind. After five of the six rounds, the difference between number one and two was already more than a minute, and at the start of the final lap Van Aert was one minute and 20 seconds behind. Towards the finish line MVDP extending his lead to almost two minutes. He thus achieved his eighth victory in a row in the current cyclo-cross season with great force majeure.

Van Aert was also close to second place, as he rode more than half a minute ahead of Ronhaar. He in turn was already assured of third place, because his first pursuer was nowhere to be seen. And indeed, Van Aert would come second, Ronhaar third. Behind it, it was not Tom Pidcock, but Lars van der Haar who claimed fourth place. Vanthourenhout and Nys finished fifth and sixth. But where had Pidcock gone? The Briton completely failed in the second part of the cross and finished outside the top ten, twelfth.

X2O Trophy Ball
Result men
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
2. Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike) at 1m54s
3. Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions) on 2m44s
4. Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) in 3m31s
5. Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) at 3m47s
6. Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) at 3m49s
7. Emiel Verstrynge (Crelan-Corendon) at 3m59s
8. Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) op 4m02s
9. Jens Adams (Athletes for Hope) op 4m08s
10. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions) at 4m16s

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