Mathieu van der Poel’s (Beobank-Corendon) winning streak at the 2016 Superprestige cyclocross series came to an end today while Wout van Aert’s (Crelan Vastgoedservice) win streak at the run-up filled Spa Francorchamps continued.

The steep run-ups proved critical on the day, as critical slips by impacted the race leadership, and especially tired out the legs of series leader Van der Poel.

While fans may have been hoping for a two-man dual to the finish, the season’s top two racers took their turns on the ground, and had to fend off a strong challenge by UEC Continental Champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions).

Wout van Aert ended Mathieu van der Poel's Superprestige win streak. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert ended Mathieu van der Poel’s Superprestige win streak. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

When Van Aert slipped on a run-up on lap two, Van der Poel quickly opened up a gap that grew to ten seconds, and suddenly it looked to be a race for second.

Van der Poel has an early lead that he couldn't maintain. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Van der Poel has an early lead that he couldn’t maintain. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

However, Van Aert’s running strength showed, and on lap three, the World Champion ran past Van der Poel.

Tactics came into play, and soon the two were joined by Aerts, another strong runner.

World Champ Van Aert and Continental UEC Champ Aerts. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

World Champ Van Aert and Continental UEC Champ Aerts. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Van der Poel, who has had multiple knee surgeries, does not include running his training, and knew he’d have a challenge today. “I was struggling on the run-up, as I did last year,” Van der Poel said after the race. “It’ll never be my cup of tea.”

Soon, it was the others’ turns to slip on the run-ups. First Toon Aerts slid while dismounting before the run, blaming his large toe spikes and a slick, frozen spot for the mishap.

Then, Van der Poel slipped at the top of a steep run, giving Van Aert the daylight he needed.

Once gapped, Van der Poel rode conservatively to save second and maintain his series lead, saying he quickly realized he didn’t have the legs to chase back on to the World Champ’s wheel.

Van Aert, after a month-long winless stretch, was relieved with the victory. “It’s great. I’ve never lost at Spa-Francorchamps so I love to come here,” he said after the race.

2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

American Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) finished in tenth.

Stephen Hyde excited with his 10th place finish. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Stephen Hyde excited with his 10th place finish. 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Video highlights, full results and photo gallery below.

2016 Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps Men’s Race Highlights:

2016 Spa-Francorchamps Superprestige Results - Elite Men

RankNameNat.Age*ResultPts
1Wout VAN AERTBEL231:00:4380
2Mathieu VAN DER POELNED221:01:1560
3Toon AERTSBEL241:01:1840
4Kevin PAUWELSBEL331:02:0830
5Laurens SWEECKBEL241:02:1525
6Tom MEEUSENBEL291:02:2120
7Jens ADAMSBEL251:02:2317
8Philipp WALSLEBENGER301:02:3615
9Klaas VANTORNOUTBEL351:03:0212
10Stephen HYDEUSA301:03:1310
11Thijs AMERONGENNED311:03:568
12David VAN DER POELNED251:04:386
13Julien TARAMARCAZSUI301:04:424
14Stan GODRIENED241:04:572
15Diether SWEECKBEL241:05:271
16Jens VANDEKINDERENBEL241:05:33
17Joeri ADAMSBEL281:05:56
18Daan HOEYBERGHSBEL23
19Sebastien CARABINBEL28

2016 Spa-Francorchamps Superprestige Photo Gallery:

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Tom Meeusen leading early during the 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men's race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Tom Meeusen leading early during the 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps. Elite Men’s race. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

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