Mathieu van der Poel rode well in second for most of the race before Pauwels passed. 2014 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Elite Men. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Mathieu van der Poel, shown here at the 2014 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup, took a great solo win today. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

ANTWERP, Belgium – The 2014 Scheldecross Antwerp turned out to be a battle of the young blood as 19-year-old Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP – Powerplus Cycling Team) handily rode to victory, finishing solo ahead of 20-year-old Laurens Sweeck (Corendon – Kwadro Cycling Team, with Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team) claiming third.

Van der Poel played his cards early, taking the holeshot with Meeusen right behind. The pair managed a small gap through the first round before being joined by several other riders including Sweeck, David Van der Poel (BKCP – Powerplus Cycling Team), Rob Peeters (Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace Cycling Team) and Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team).

Further back, Raleigh Clement’s Ben Berden, and later in the race, Jim Aernouts (Sunweb – Napoleon Games Cycling Team) both suffered crashes on the barriers. Aernouts went down hard, appearing to unclip, making it impossible negotiate the second of the two planks. Both riders were able to recover from the spills and continue on.

Sweeck hit the gas at the beginning of lap three to gain an advantage, capitalizing on small mistakes by Meeusen who now led the chase. The young Belgian managed to stay away until Van der Poel once again took matters into his own hands, coming around Meeusen to bridge the gap by lap five.

Once the catch was made Van der Poel utilized some of the courses small sand sections to gap Sweeck, never to be caught again. Sweeck, however, only bested by Van der Poel, rode brilliantly to hold on to second place.

Further behind, the battle for third was forming up. Meeusen seemed out of contention for a time, dropping back 11 seconds off the chase group of Peerers, van Kessel, David Van der Poel and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP – Powerplus Cycling Team) who had been just off the pace for much of the race.

Peeters and van Kessle pulled away in the eighth lap, with van Kessle maintaining a slight lead before the group converged once again just before the final lap. Meeusen, now apparently recovered, made his move, driving the pace, eventually distancing himself to claim the third spot on the podium.

Fourth and fifth went to Peeters and Walsleben respectively. Notably  out of contention, Kevin Pauwels and Sunweb – Napoleon Games Cycling Team teammate Klaas Vantornout never managed to escape the second chase group.

Also absent, Sven Nys, apparently taking time off in Mallorca amidst criticism by fans for a recent string of lackluster performances was quoted on Sporza as saying, “I’m only human and not a robot.” While a rest period is nothing out of the ordinary, Nys’ rebuttals to critics about age being a factor appear to have hit a chord in the former World Champion.

We also have full coverage of the Elite Women’s race, with Sanne Cant taking yet another win.

2014 Scheldecross Antwerpen, Men's Elite Race

1Mathieu VAN DER POELNED1957:08:00
2Laurens SWEECKBEL2157:51:00
3Tom MEEUSENBEL2658:09:00
4Rob PEETERSBEL2958:13:00
5Philipp WALSLEBENGER2758:21:00
6Corne VAN KESSELNED2358:39:00
7David VAN DER POELNED2258:39:00
8Diether SWEECKBEL2159:03:00
9Bart WELLENSBEL3659:08:00
11Julien TARAMARCAZSUI2759:20:00
12Klaas VANTORNOUTBEL3259:40:00
13Joeri ADAMSBEL2559:43:00
14Radomir SIMUNEKCZE3159:50:00
15Jens ADAMSBEL221:00:05
16Jim AERNOUTSBEL251:00:28
17Bart AERNOUTSBEL321:01:10
18Stan GODRIENED211:01:20
20Dave DE CLEYNBEL261:01:30
21Martin BINACZE311:01:30
22Kevin CANTBEL261:01:30
23Sascha WEBERGER261:02:00
24Marcel MEISENGER251:02:00
25Stijn CALUWEBEL181:02:10
26Jonathan PAGEUSA381:02:30
27Stephen HYDEUSA27
30Niels KOYENBEL23
33Edwin DE WITBEL31
34Yannick GRUNERGER20
35Wouter GOOSENBEL28
37Skyler MACKEYUSA19