Mathieu van der Poel impresses with his tenth cross victory in a row

Cyclist Mathieu van der Poel impressively booked his tenth cross victory in ten races in the Kuil van Zonhoven. The 28-year-old world champion from Alpecin-Deceuninck also left the competition far behind him in Limburg, Belgium.

Van der Poel had a twenty-second lead on the line over compatriot Joris Nieuwenhuis, who stayed ahead of Belgian Laurens Sweeck. The Dutchman Pim Ronhaar came fourth.

While Van der Poel regularly took distance in the first round earlier this season, he took a different approach in Zonhoven. The Dutchman immediately moved up a number of places after the start, but this time he stayed with Nieuwenhuis and Sweeck. The three had a small gap after the first round, but saw Ronhaar, Thibau Nys and classification leader Eli Iserbyt, among others, close again.

Impressive acceleration
Ronhaar thinned out the group again a little later. Iserbyt, who suffered from dehydration symptoms due to stomach flu earlier in the week, had to let go and Nys also had a hard time. Van der Poel watched it for a while, but decided in the fourth round that it was enough. He outpaced everyone with impressive acceleration and took a reassuring lead in no time.

A quartet of riders consisting of Nieuwenhuis, Ronhaar, Sweeck and Toon Vandebosch rode the final laps behind Van der Poel for second place. Vandebosch dropped out after a crash in the Kuil, after which the two Dutchmen from Baloise Trek Lions and Sweeck continued together. Ronhaar had a difficult time in the last lap, after which Nieuwenhuis won the sprint from Sweeck.

Training in Spain
“I am very happy with how this period went, but I am also happy that I am now going to Spain again to train,” Van der Poel said afterwards in the flash interview about his ten victories. “It was a tough race and it was quite cold, so I just watched it and didn’t want to waste too much energy. Nieuwenhuis also rode a fairly strong pace.”

Wout van Aert (Visma – Lease a Bike) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) were not present in Zonhoven. The Belgian will only be in action in the Benidorm World Cup cross in two weeks, while the Briton withdrew ill from the cross in Zonhoven.