On Saturday at Superprestige Boom, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) showed some patience before unleashing his trademark winning attack midway through the race.
Sunday at World Cup Bern, the Dutch star appeared content to let the fast Elite Men’s race play out, but an unexpected opportunity signaled it was go time for his big effort.
The fast, grassy course in Bern, Switzerland played to Wout van Aert’s (Cibel – Cebon Offroad Team) strengths, and the Belgian responded by leading the way for the first two and a half laps. Only Van der Poel and Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice) could keep his blistering pace.
At the end of Lap 3, Van Aert had trouble shifting after a dusty right-hand turn. He slowed up for a few seconds, and Van der Poel seized the opportunity to attack.
Soete held Van der Poel’s wheel for a while, but the young Dutchman slowly pulled away. Van Aert eventually recovered and overtook Soete, but it was too late. Van der Poel was gone.
Van der Poel held a 10 to 15-second advantage over his rival for the rest of the 11-lap race to take home his latest win and first victory of the 2018/19 Telenet UCI World Cup series after skipping the two U.S. World Cups.
Burning Start in Bern
The third stop of the 2018/19 Telenet UCI World Cup took place on the grounds of the Freibad Weyermannshaus outdoor pool. Both Elite matches at World Cup Bern, however, were anything but a leisurely afternoon.
After a stress-filled two stops in the U.S., Wout van Aert is back at home with a new team. He hit the line in Bern ready to make his mark by taking the holeshot and leading the field out onto the course.
With the course grassy and fast, Van Aert drove a fast pace at the front, forcing the other riders to scramble to keep his pace. Early on, only Daan Soete, Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Mathieu van der Poel could keep up.
One rider many expected to give Van Aert and Van der Poel a run for their money was Mr. September Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions), but the World Cup leader got off to a slow start and would not be a factor in the contest for the race win.
At the end of the first lap, it was Van Aert, Soete and Van der Poel at the front with Van der Haar chasing four seconds. Eight more riders sat within 10 seconds of the leader.
In the next lap, Van der Haar bridged to the lead trip in the second of 11 laps, and two laps in, the lead group was four, with Van Aert driving the pace at the front.
When he has not crashed in a ditch and sprained his ankle, Van der Poel’s winning moves the last three weeks have come in the first half of the race. On Sunday, he was content to let Van Aert drive the pace for the first 2.5 laps, but in the third ronde, he finally took over lead duties and Van Aert dropped back to third position.
In the waning meters of the third lap, Van Aert had trouble with his shifting on a dusty right-hand turn. Van der Poel saw his rival’s misfortune and jumped out of the saddle to attack. It was go time, planned or not.
Soete initially followed Van der Poel’s move and kept pace with the Dutchman through the start/finish straight. He held onto Van der Poel’s blistering pace while Van Aert was already chasing five seconds.
Soete’s effort only lasted so long. As the duo entered the most technical part of the course, Van der Poel’s lead grew from bike lengths to seconds. Van Aert recovered from his mishap and overtook Soete, but the damage was done. Van der Poel’s gap on Van Aert was now seven seconds.
During the fifth lap, Van Aert kept Van der Poel’s lead in check and crossed the line only six seconds in arrears.
The next trip around the course, Van der Poel doubled his lead to 11 seconds. From there, the front of the race stayed incredibly consistent. Thirteen seconds, 13 seconds, 14 seconds and 12 seconds at the bell.
Van der Poel cruised in the bell lap to take home his first World Cup win of 2018/19 in his first try.
Van Aert held on for second.
Behind the two leaders, there was a fluid battle for third contested by Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux – Bingoal), Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions), Felipe Orts Lloret (Ginestar – Delikia), Aerts, Soete and Van der Haar.
After his slow start, Aerts pulled away from the others in Lap 9 to take over a solo third position he would not relinquish.
No North American male riders made the trip to Bern for the one-off World Cup.
Full results are below.
Elite Men's Results: 2018 World Cup Bern
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|1||19||VAN DER POEL||Mathieu||NED||1:04:48|
|9||20||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||1:06:10|
|21||22||VAN DER POEL||David||NED||1:07:18|
|37||26||VAN DER MEER||Gosse||NED||1:08:37|