CyclocrossThere is no better place than “home”? Mmmm. Yeah. In Diegem, in particular, where some 15,000 cheering cross fans finally saw Mathieu van der Poel’s dominance. And that’s after an hour of blistering – hard versus soft. “By the final stage I was completely dead. It was just a character.”
look. Van Aert after the win: “I wanted to bury the hatchet in the middle of the road”
I wonder who scored the highest ratings in primetime last night. Episode 5343 of Season 28 of the popular Flemish series On One? Or the very exciting sixth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross at Diegem in artificial light on Canvas, moved to a ridiculously late start time of 8:45pm to avoid cross competition? Not really worth repeating, Wout van Aert thinks. “I got through the day. ‘Toerke’ in the open air, a little nap. But that breaks the tempo in this busy end-of-year period. I would have preferred to have coneed in a little earlier,” he sighs. Then we add a laugh: “After all, we’re just monkeys in the circus, right? And we should always give our best.”
Well, understatement! At fifteen minutes, Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock were already ahead of the rest. The Dutchman seemed to draw better lines in the sand than his comrades and distanced himself. Until… Van Aert swooped into round six from third and over world champion Van der Poel, suddenly giving him a (short) cookie from his own medicine and in turn creating a gap. After a foul by the Belgian tricolor, Van der Poel and Pidcock fought back. Surprisingly, however, only the Briton continued the duel with Van Aert to the bitter end. In a spirited, energetic fight, Van Aert finally defeated Pidcock before the final section of the stairs, with the finish just around the corner.
Finally the bingo for Van Aert in Diegem, after two second places in 2016 and 2017. “It’s good to finally put this to rest, because I’ve been beaten here so many times. This is the course that suits Matthew most eminently in principle. The final has always been Too much for me. The sandpit, the beam, the art piece, the stairs and the finish. So many times I had to let in a few lengths that I couldn’t close.”
Now he himself dealt the death blow to Pidcock. Although he had to dig deeper into it. (with a twisted face and a deep grimace) “Oh my God, that couldn’t be more true. Those nasty sandy fairways started playing in my head. I just didn’t get it right. I thought Matthew had gone flying and halfway through I wanted to bury the hatchet, but when I kept my eyes on him, he grew Faith. Last two laps I was dead hard. And I settled with Tom on pure personal. I had no strength to run from corner to corner. It was hard to cross. Sleep tomorrow anyway.”
Take off van der Poel
Van der Poel could no longer make a fist, and so dropped to third place. end of his era. For thirteen years ‘Ditchem’, as he puts it very nicely himself, was Matthewland. Van der Poel won there for the first time, in 2009 as a fourteen-year-old with redness on his cheeks. Since then, in any category, it has been undefeated – in 2010 it was missing, in 2020 and 2021 there was no cross in the commune of Flemish Brabant due to the corona epidemic. Until yesterday. Not seven in a row. This left van der Poel shaken. “In the beginning I was riding the best in the sand. I always got the most out of it, but I just couldn’t keep the difference. I didn’t have the legs for that.” The king of Digem was overthrown. “Nothing lasts forever. I am now also free of this title.”
See also. Matteo van der Poel (third): “I didn’t have two legs”
Peters wins with the women, teammate Alvarado is doing well
Another full Dutch podium in the Women’s Diegem Cross. At the top was Puck Pieterse, who dominated the entire race thanks to the cannon start. Shereen van Anroij resisted for a long time, but had to give up the superior style of 20-year-old Alpecin Dekonnink, who has already won five professional victories this winter. Leading lady Wim van Embel still comfortably tops the list with Ten Roses. As leader Dennis Betsema was out for the day and only crossed the line in eighth place, Celine Alvarado took the lead in the Superprestige standings thanks to her third-place finish. (BVDC)
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