Heading towards the final round of the World Cup, Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) was already quite sure of the overall victory. The final round of the World Cup would also be the third encounter of the season between Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). Both, however, couldn’t start from the first line, because of their position in the World Cup standings.
The stage for the finale of the 2019-2020 Word Cup was the cyclocross course in the Dutch city of Hoogerheide, the original stomping grounds of Adri van der Poel, the 1996 World Champion cyclocross and father of current World Champion cyclocross Mathieu van der Poel.
Hoogerheide offers one of the most beautiful courses in cyclocross and has been the scene of multiple world championships, the last time in 2014 when Zdenek Stybar took his third world title, that time after an error of cyclocross legend Sven Nys in the final lap.
Although van der Poel had to start from the second line, he already took the lead at the end of the final stretch. His intention was clear, winning the race which is named after his father. Van der Poel presented the other riders with a horrific pace and only Aerts held onto his wheel. Not able to drop Aerts right away, Van der Poel dropped the pace towards the end of the first lap.
While Joris Nieuwenhuis (Team Sunweb) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) lad the pack in the second lap, Van Aert took position in front of Van der Poel. A leading group of 13 riders slithered trough the Dutch fields. Another major attack was only delivered at the end of the fifth lap, the author being new Belgian champion Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal).
Van der Poel responded and then took the lead himself in a way only Van der Poel could do it. A sprint on the longer climb on the course was the only thing he needed to distance himself. Sweeck tried to bring it back, as Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) and Aerts were holding on to his wheel.
The barriers on today’s track were very high, a playground for Van der Poel. Sweeck and Iserbyt running, all hope seemed lost. Sweeck had to recover. It was up to Iserbyt and Aerts to close it down, as they finished Lap 6 with a 6 seconds arrear on Van der Poel. Van der Poel extended his lead with another 16 seconds in the 7th lap, the 2020 winner of the GP Adri van der Poel was known.
Van der Poel took victory number 23 of the season and seemed more than ready for next week’s World Championships in the Swiss town of Dübendorf.
“I’m very happy about this weekend. I feel that I found back my punch, my acceleration,” Van der Poel said (translated). “In the first lap, I consciously pushed hard because I wanted to test once. I felt pretty strong, but I didn’t feel like keeping up this pace. In the group, I noticed that I had some surplus. Then it was timing to drop a first bomb and that was immediately the good one. I felt a big difference with the races before training camp. The past weeks I trained more specifically for cyclocross. I did everything I could to be in my best shape for the World Championships. I feel that we timed it well and that I’m 100% now.”
While van der Poel was finishing up his final lap, Iserbyt and Aerts were attacking each other for second. The decisive move was made by Aerts as he opened up a gap jumping the barriers. Today’s second place was sufficient for Aerts to become the 2019-2020 World Cup champion.
Three-time world champion Van Aert finished 8th today.
Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) was first American with a 23rd place. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) finished 32nd, Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) 43rd and Patrick Collins (kb PHOTO cx / A-D Bikes) 51st.
Michael van den Ham (Easton / Giant p/b Transitions LifeCare) was first Canadian with a 40th place. Cameron Jette finished 52nd.
Full results are below.
Elite Men Results: 2020 World Cup Hoogerheide
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|1||1||VAN DER POEL||Mathieu||NED||1:04:39|
|6||2||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||1:05:29|
|15||5||VAN DER POEL||David||NED||1:06:53|
|31||7||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Maik||NED||1:08:22|
|40||58||VAN DEN HAM||Michael||CAN||1:09:57|