Cyclocross fans head to the races to take in the sights, smells and sounds of a race, while cheering on their favorite riders, whether they’re first or fifteenth. However, those of us who tune in to watch a race are more limited in our expectations.
Fans watching at home can’t immerse themselves in cheering for a race for tenth, watch our favorite American make his way through traffic or appreciate how an off-the-back racer airs it over a hill. Not unlike watching a weekly television drama, a television camera-constrained race might deliver a nail-biter of a conclusion, a shocking twist, or simply a well-executed but familiar and formulaic plot and script, but it’s almost always focused on the lead actor or actors.
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank Corendon) ensured that there were no surprise endings on Saturday, taking advantage of the absence of three-time Essen winner Wout van Aert (Crelan Charles) and following the script perfectly to take a commanding victory at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee cyclocross series stop in Essen.
— DVV Trofee (@DVVtrofee) December 9, 2017
Van der Poel’s teammate Tom Meeusen was the highlight of the supporting cast, playing the loyal lieutenant on lap one. This year’s new Beobank Corendon signee hopped the barriers with his team captain and then pulled him away from the pack, with Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) latching on to claim his share of the spotlight.
— cyclephotos (@cyclephotos) December 9, 2017
While it looked the final podium and curtain call was set after one lap, it wasn’t to be. Soon the leading trio exploded under Van der Poel’s constant pressure, and with Meeusen sitting on Aerts’ wheel, Van der Poel pulled away.
However, although Meeusen’s lead cameo was over, the cast wasn’t quite ready to let Van der Poel feature in a starring role.
Laurens Sweeck (ERA Circus) surged past Meeusen and Aerts to assume the role of contesting Van der Poel on the serpentine, muddy course. Van der Poel would pull away in the corners and climbs, while Sweeck would chase back on the straights to latch back onto the European champ’s wheel. Would Sweeck challenge Van der Poel for victory or simply spend time as the understudy?
Halfway through the race, the elastic snapped with another pass through the barriers.
Van der Poel hopped and Sweeck ran, giving Van der Poel the chance to extend his gap and pull away, leaving Sweeck in his shadows under the fading Essen spotlight.
Soon Sweeck was looking across the course, taking advantage of the many sections where the track doubled back on itself. Sweeck could see he was losing ground on the leading man, and instead focused on maintaining his gap over the chasing two-man Telenet Fidea act of Aerts and Corne van Kessel.
Aerts outkicked Van Kessel for third, with Van der Haar sprinting to fourth ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux Napoleon Games), and securing three of the top five places for Telenet Fidea in the process.
Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) worked his way through the field to finish 14th.
2017 DVV Trofee Series Essen Results - Elite Men
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Team||Gender||Age||Result|
|1||1||VAN DER POEL||Mathieu||NED||BEOBANK-CORENDON||M||22||1:00:28|
|3||7||AERTS||Toon||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||M||24||1:01:10|
|4||4||VAN KESSEL||Corne||NED||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||M||26||1:01:17|
|5||8||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||M||26||1:01:32|
|6||6||VANTHOURENHOUT||Michael||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||M||24||1:01:33|
|7||13||ADAMS||Jens||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||M||25||1:01:41|
|9||9||MERLIER||Tim||BEL||CRELAN - CHARLES||M||25||1:02:05|
|10||12||AERNOUTS||Jim||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||M||28||1:02:32|
|11||5||PAUWELS||Kevin||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||M||33||1:02:35|
|12||16||SOETE||Daan||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||M||23||1:02:54|
|13||10||VERMEERSCH||Gianni||BEL||STEYLAERTS - BETFIRST||M||25||1:03:17|
|14||31||HYDE||Stephen||USA||CANNONDALE P/B CYCLOCROSSWORLD||M||30||1:03:20|
|15||18||VANTHOURENHOUT||Dieter||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||M||32||1:03:25|
|16||11||BOROŠ||Michael||CZE||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||M||25||1:04:47|
|17||25||VAN DER MEER||Gosse||NED||TARTELETTO - ISOREX||M||22||1:05:12|
|18||23||GODRIE||Stan||NED||CRELAN - CHARLES||M||24||1:05:42|
|19||26||VAN COMPERNOLLE||Kenneth||BEL||TARTELETTO - ISOREX||M||29||1:06:10|
|20||PEETERS||Rob||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||M||32||DNF|