Mathieu van der Poel won the cyclo-cross World Cup race in Benidorm (Spain) narrowly ahead of Wout Van Aert.
After a two-week break, where they took the opportunity to train on the road with their respective teams, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert resumed their fabulous duel, which has shaken up the cyclo-cross season since the start of the winter. This Sunday, it is on the side of Benidorm, between Murcia and Valencia in Spain, that the two leaders clashed, with in particular a sandy part on the course. And it was the Dutchman who proved to be the strongest! Van der Poel won in the sprint ahead of Van Aert, who had to cut his effort a few meters from the finish line because he had turned a little too close to the barriers and got a little scared. Nine laps were on the program for this race. It was world champion Tom Pidcock who took control after the first, but his two rivals were not far away.
A new duel next week in Belgium
From the sixth lap, the Briton began to struggle to keep up the pace, and as often, Mathieu van der Poel decided to accelerate on the last lap, and only Wout Van Aert managed to follow him. The Dutchman therefore won the World Cup for the fourth time this season and proved that his back problems seemed to be behind him. Van Aert finished second, ahead of his compatriot Eli Iserbyt, who finished nine seconds behind the duo. Fourth ahead of Tom Pidcock, the Belgian Laurens Sweeck retains the lead in the cyclo-cross World Cup. Since the start of the season, Van Aert now has eight wins and van der Poel five. We will not find the two stars for the World Cup stage in Besançon next Sunday. On the other hand, they will be on Saturday near Hamme in Belgium, for a race in the Cyclo-cross Trophy category. A race as a last rehearsal before the world championships, in two weeks in the Netherlands.