While most European cyclocross stars were contesting the Ethias Cross’ Polderscross over the weekend, Dutch cyclocross star Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) was putting in a huge effort on the cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen to shed the pavement pounders, take the stage victory and vault from fourth to win the overall at the BinckBank Tour 2020.
The Dutch stage race was subject to rescheduling, canceled stages and a last-minute move across the Dutch border to Belgium, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changing restrictions.
The changes didn’t seem to phase Van der Poel, however, as the three-time cyclocross World Champ, already accustomed to dominating competitors in Belgium, put in a massive effort 31 miles from the finish to leave everyone in his wake.
It wasn’t so much of an explosive attack, but rather a pace that nobody could follow. Have a watch:
🎥 This is how Mathieu van der Poel has left everyone behind on the Muur van Geraardsbergen… #BinckBankTour pic.twitter.com/iTM3ljfIt4
— BinckBank Tour (@BinckBankTour) October 3, 2020
Former U23 Cyclocross World Champ Mike Teunissen (Jumbo Visma) finished eighth overall.
See the full overall results here.
Van der Poel then celebrated his overall win on Saturday with a sixth-place at the one-day Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic on Sunday.
Here’s the UCI’s own reporting on the BinckBank Tour 2020:
Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) won the BinckBank Tour 2020 with an exciting 50km solo attack on the last and decisive stage around Geraardsbergen with a tough final circuit including the ascents of the Denderoordstraat, Bosberg and especially the Tour des Flandres’ Muur van Geraardsbergen.
The Dutch champion riding for Alpecin-Fenix took the last stage ahead of Belgian Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-McLaren), and secured his first general classification in a UCI WorldTour event, beating the Dane Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) by just 4 seconds.
“It’s unbelievable to win the BinckBank Tour like this. It wasn’t my plan. It was way too early. I wanted to attack on the Muur but not alone. I felt great though. I had doubts because it was far but I decided to go all or nothing”, said the UCI Cyclo-cross World Champion in 2015, 2019 and 2020, and 2019 Dwars door Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race winner.
The final hilly and tough stage took place from Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve to Geraardsbergen with four tough laps around Geraardsbergen climbing three ascents of the Denderoordstraat, Bosberg and the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen, a symbol of the Tour des Flandres, calling out the Classics specialists.
Van der Poel was the most-awaited and he had a perfect chance to blitz the GC with 17 seconds to recover from Pedersen. The multifaceted rider placed his solo attack on the penultimate climb of the Muur van Geraardsbergen with 50km to go and pushed full gas. In the last passage under the finish line, the reduced chasing group – just 30 riders – had already a gap of 1’05”. Van der Poel gained 9 bonus seconds on the BinckBank Golden KM and only four chasers were able to resist after the last Bosberg climb: Kragh Andersen, Küng, the Belgian Oliver Naesen, and Colbrelli, with a 40” gap, while Pedersen was dropped. Van der Poel lost most of his advantage but managed to win the stage in front of Naesen and Colbrelli, conquering also the GC with a four-second lead over Kragh Andersen, who finished fourth.