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Preview: Holst World Cup 2023 – The Big Three are at the start again

Preview: Holst World Cup 2023 – The Big Three are at the start again

Zeiger Schieken
Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 8:00 AM

The fifth cross ride in five days will take place on Saturday. The riders head to Hulst, where the Vestingcross is completed. In previous years the stadium has often been the home ground of Mathieu van der Poel, who this year will face opposition from Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock. For the women, we are looking forward to the battle between Wim van Empel and Bock Bitters. Cycling Looking forward.


Latest winners Westenkraus Holst
2022: flag nlMatthew van der Poel
2022: flag-gb Tom Pidcock
2021: flag nl Matthew van der Poel
2020: Science is Elie Esserbet
2019: flag nl Matthew van der Poel
2018: flag nl Matthew van der Poel
2017: flag nl Matthew van der Poel

2022: flag nlBookbeaters
2022: flag nl Lucinda brand
2021: flag nl Dennis Betsema
2020: flag nl Celine del Carmen Alvarado
2019: flag nlDennis Betsema
2018: Science is Laura Verdonschut
2017: Science is Sunny was

last year

Result Men – World Cup flag nl Holly
1. flag nlMathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Dekuinink) in 57m9s
2. Science isLorenz Swick (Crillan-Corindon) at 15 years old
3. Science isElie Izerbit (Pauls Sosin-Bingol) is 22 years old
4. flag nlLars van der Haar (Balloise Trek Lions) in the 1930s
5. flag nlJoris Nieuwenhuis (Balloise Trek Lions) at 49 years old

Women's results – World Cup flag nl Holly
1. flag nlBook Bitters (Alpecin-Deseuinink) in 46 minutes and 31 seconds
2. flag nlWim van Empel (Pauls Sosin Bingol) at 42 seconds
3. flag nlShirin van Anweij (Balloise Trek Lions) with a time of 1:47 seconds
4. flag nl– Celine del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deseuinink) at 2 minutes and 6 seconds
5. flag nlLucinda Brand (Balloise Trick Lions) at 2 minutes and 12 seconds


In Holst they have two circles. Three years ago, the race was held in the Birkpolder district, a development area located in the western Scheldt in the northern part of the municipality. But the original and slightly more attractive road was laid out in the middle of the fortifications. The riders will be guests there again this year.

It's a technical course, spiced up with some tough, steep calf climbs. Perfect for types like Mathieu van der Poel, Tom Pidcock, Lars van der Haar, Elie Iserbyt, and less so for guys who rely solely on strength.

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Riders will then return to downtown Hollister, where the fortifications will provide a beautiful backdrop. The dams provide the necessary height gain on the circuit, which must be ascended during the climb and ensure high speeds and technique during the descent. Furthermore, riders are also sent through the 18th century mill.

Program and information

The program is Saturday, December 30, 2023
10 am: Junior category
11.30 am: Junior category
1:40 PM: Women's Elite
3.10pm: Elite Men

City centre, Hulst – Glassweg

general information
Pre-sale tickets are available for €15. On Sunday 27 November, you can buy your entrance ticket on site for €20 apiece. Children under 12 years old can enter for free.

Practical information
Site organization

Favorite men

As previously mentioned, the big three will be Holst's starters. However, the preferred role is reserved for Matthew van der Poel. This won't surprise you. Van der Poel has won all four crosses he has completed this season, each time by force majeure. The smallest margin he won was in Herenthals, when he was 28 seconds ahead of Tom Pidcock. His rivals will have to have a particularly good day on Saturday, because Van der Poel has already won five times in Holst. The course suited his abilities perfectly.

Van der Poel won last year on his return to the field in Holst – Picture: Cor Vos

However, we can expect opposition. by Tom Pidcock For example. Pidcock is also always good at Holst, having won there two seasons ago, when Wout van Aert was also starting out. The big problem the Briton faces is his poor starting position, which means he always has to chase after the start. Some insiders, including Philipp Rudhoft, expect Pidcock to be able to offer more resistance than the last few races, provided he gets a good start.

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Woot Fan Art I couldn't win yet in Holst. This is primarily due to Van der Poel's superiority, but even without the Dutchman at the start, Van Aart has yet to prevail. The gap to Van der Poel is still large at the moment, but we have seen Van Aert grow somewhat gradually in the last few races. In addition, the Belgian has the advantage of having two days of rest after Heusden-Zolder, while Van der Poel will deliver his third cross in three days.

Van Aert completed it again in Zolder – Photo: Cor Vos

After the big three, we look at a number of riders who are close to each other in terms of level. First of all, we expect him to perform well Elie EsserbetWho also won in Holst. Iserbit will drive with confidence, especially after his strong performance in Heusden-Zolder.

also Joris Nieuwenhuis And Lars van der Haar, his fellow Baloise Trek Lions can aim for a top-five finish in Vestingcross. They've been touring constantly throughout an entire season. Finally, we would like to mention the young riders Pim Runhaar and Cameron Mason, who could also have a nice place of honour.

Favorites according to WielerFlits
*** Mathieu van der Poel
** Woot Fan Art, Tom Pidcock
* Elie Iserbyt, Lars van der Haar, Joris Nieuwenhuis

List of participants for men

Favorite women

It happened in Javert, Wim van Empel's first defeat. The Dutch had been beaten before Bookbeaters, who rode a particularly good cross. The latter will be awarded a cross in Hulst which should suit her more than well. The many difficult technical sections require a lot of courage, something no one has more than Pieterse. Add to that the form of Javert and we will see another great battle.

Wim van Empel It will be good too. After Heusden-Zolder, where she won the sprint race against Celine del Carmen Alvarado after a tough race, she chose to take a few days of rest and calmly prepare for the Holst cross. Good preparation will be essential, because Van Empel has not yet been able to win in Holst. Last year, after a fall, she was beaten by Pieterse. She is now looking for her thirteenth (!) win of the season. In any case, we expect an exciting match.

The two women from 2002 meet again on Saturday – Photo: Cor Vos

However, there is more than just Pieterse and Van Empel. So we can expect that Celine del Carmen Alvarado And Lucinda brand Stand there. Alvarado showed on Wednesday in Heusden-Zolder that she is no inferior to Van Empel on some days, so why not wear trousers of the same fabric on Saturday? Brand has the advantage of being the only one of the names mentioned so far who will not be playing after Javier.

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Blanca Vas She showed in Javier that she is growing back to her best levels. In the incredibly difficult cross, she finished fifth after a long race to catch up. We also look at the Dutch women Inge van der Heijden and Anne-Marie Wurst, but also at the British women. Zoe BackstedtThe Italian Sarah Casasola and the Luxembourgish Marie Schreiber.

Favorites according to WielerFlits
*** Book Peters
** Wim van Empel, Celine del Carmen Alvarado
* Lucinda Brand, Blanca Vass, Zoe Backstedt

List of women participants

Weather and TV

If riders are lucky, they will escape the rain on Saturday. Weeronline is forecasting rain in the morning and evening, but it could remain dry in the afternoon. There will be a fair amount of wind and it will not be warm – with temperatures below 10°C.

flag nl Holst World Cup, Cyclo Cross
Live on Sporza, VRT1 (from 1:30pm)

Live on NOS, online (from 1:35 p.m.)

Live on Eurosport 1 (from 1.30pm for women)
Live on (from 1:30pm women)

Live on Eurosport 1 (from 3pm for men)
Live on (from 3pm men)