Saturday kicked off a big two-race weekend with the Telenet Superprestige in Boom. The open grassy course was certainly different from what is in store for riders at Sunday’s World Cup in Koksijde, but there was sand concentrated at the end of the Boom circuit. More or less the same as the seaside course at Koksijde, right?
After winning the Men’s U23 race, Tom Pidcock (Telenet Fidea Lions) talked about doing enough to win the race but not doing too much ahead of Sunday’s World Cup in Koksijde. With Kokisjde looming on Sunday, one of the big questions was how riders would approach the two-day weekend.
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) has shown an ability to attack and get away early, while the other riders have recognized the importance of neutralizing his early efforts, even if the work is for naught when Van der Poel drops the hammer later on.
On Saturday, Van der Poel got out to his customary fast start and forced a selection early on. At first, Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) went with him and a group of several other riders formed behind. As is usually the case, trying to match Van der Poel’s early efforts can have its rewards.
Behind the lead three, the main chasers were Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus), Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions), Jens Adams (Pauwels Sauzen Vastgoedservice) and Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions).
Van Aert’s Boom, Van der Poel’s Bust
The sample size of races Van der Poel has not won this season is small. In fact, it is one, so there is little room to say “when x happens, Van der Poel does not win.”
On Saturday in Boom, the sample size grew to two. While still in the lead selection, Van der Poel crashed on a corner and slammed his bike into the ground. The recovery and shifting issues cost him a massive amount of time and at the end of lap three, he was 50-seconds off the lead.
After his archrival went down, Van Aert wasted little time going off the front. He attacked at the start of the next lap and soon his gap was a healthy 12 seconds.
Once off the front, Van Aert’s lead stayed between 11 and 15 seconds for the next several laps. As Pidcock said, doing enough to win, but going too deep into the red ahead of Sunday’s World Cup.
The win was Van Aert’s second in three days after getting shut out the first month and a half of the season.
It was also the second win of the day for Neils Albert’s Crelan Charles team, after Maud Kauptheijns’ win earlier in the day, capping off a perfect day for Albert at his namesake race.
Sweeck Takes Second, Van der Poel Recovers
Behind Van Aert, things shook out in due time. Hermans was the first to follow Van Aert when he attacked during lap four, but at the end of the lap, Sweeck and Adams dragged their way back to the young Lion to make it a group of four.
Sweeck was the next to try his hand at an attack. He took advantage of the open layout of the first half of the course and the multitude of power sections to move into a solo second. Once in second, Sweeck also meted out his efforts to keep a comfortable gap back to third.
Van der Haar had some issues with the sand early in the race, including a face-first tumble, but he recovered for a strong finish.
— cyclingreporter (@cyclingreporter) October 21, 2017
He broke away from Adams during the penultimate lap and rode a strong last 30 minutes to take third.
Van der Poel recovered from his crash and slowly worked his way back into the race. He eventually finished fourth and then collapsed after his big effort to get back in the top five.
Fans do not have to wait long for more European cyclocross action. The field heads to the northeast corner of Belgium to the shores of the North Sea for the Koksijde World Cup.
2017 Superprestige Niels Albert CX - Boom Results - Elite Men
|Rank||Bib||Last Name||First Name||Country||Team||Age||Result|
|1||1||VAN AERT||Wout||BEL||CRELAN - CHARLES||23||1:00:01|
|3||8||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||26||1:00:15|
|4||2||VAN DER POEL||Mathieu||NED||BEOBANK-CORENDON||22||1:00:23|
|5||14||ADAMS||Jens||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||25||1:00:23|
|6||11||HERMANS||Quinten||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||22||1:00:50|
|7||7||AERTS||Toon||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||24||1:01:05|
|8||3||PAUWELS||Kevin||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||33||1:01:25|
|9||10||MERLIER||Tim||BEL||CRELAN - CHARLES||25||1:01:37|
|10||13||BORO||Michael||CZE||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||25||1:01:44|
|11||18||VANTHOURENHOUT||Dieter||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||32||1:01:53|
|12||6||VANTHOURENHOUT||Michael||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||24||1:02:02|
|14||35||PEETERS||Rob||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||32||1:02:38|
|16||12||VERMEERSCH||Gianni||BEL||STEYLAERTS - BETFIRST||25||1:03:35|
|17||21||CLEPPE||Nicolas||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||22||1:03:42|
|19||20||GODRIE||Stan||NED||CRELAN - CHARLES||24||1:04:09|
|15||VAN DER POEL||David||NED||BEOBANK-CORENDON||25||DNF|