With Wout van Aert (Cibel – Cebon Offroad Team) prepping for Sunday’s Superprestige in Gavere and the conditions wet and muddy, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) brought plenty of patience with him to the start line at Saturday’s DVV Trofee Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel.

During the first two laps of the race, Van der Poel was content to sit second through fifth wheel and let the other riders dictate the pace at the front while he dialed in his lines on some of the course’s slick (as in wet and muddy) features.

One of those features was a small side hill that most riders rode low to high and then down. In the second lap, Van der Poel tested a hot route using the side hill as a berm and then ripping the low line.

Lap 3, he again ripped the low line and carried his momentum up and over the Toyo Tire incline. A rider behind him slipped and held up traffic, and only Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) stayed close after his impressive move.

After going clear, Van der Poel accelerated while Aerts dropped back to Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice). It appeared Van der Poel was ready to coast to his latest victory.

Sweeck, however, had other plans. The Belgian powered away from Aerts and bridged up to Van der Poel at the end of the fourth lap. Passing through the start/finish, Sweeck and Van der Poel sat up, allowing Aerts and Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) to rejoin the group at the front.

Midway through the sixth lap, Sweeck went on the move again. He took the lead up and over the Toyo Tires and then when the lead group hit the sand, he rode the feature. Van der Poel also rode the sand and pulled around Aerts to take over second.

The two exploited the opportunity and got a gap on the two Telenet Fidea riders, who slotted in as the chase once again.

Sweeck’s valiant effort would only last so long. In Lap 7, Van der Poel used the wide, open part of the course to pull away from Sweeck. There was no big attack, just Van der Poel slowly extending his lead while Sweeck watched with slow-motion resignation.

Van der Poel went clear while Sweeck dropped back to Aerts.

Van der Poel was not challenged the rest of the race.

Aerts quickly passed Sweeck and held the spot to take second. Sweeck held on for third.

Quick results are below.

Featured image: Bart Hazen

Elite Men’s Top 10

  1. Mathieu van der Poel
  2. Toon Aerts
  3. Laurens Sweeck
  4. Lars van der Haar
  5. Marcel Meisen
  6. Joris Nieuwenhuis
  7. Jens Adams
  8. Corne van Kessel
  9. Tom Meeusen
  10. Jim Aernouts