Mathieu van der Poel complained after the cyclocross world cup race in Dendermonde mainly about the mud trail. “This was just not my thing. I thought it was a shitty course, a bit unworthy of the World Cup”, the reigning world champion grumbled at Sporza afterwards. Van der Poel was unable to follow his unleashed rival Wout van Aert in the race and finished second, almost 3 minutes behind.
“Van Aert really stood out, he was extremely strong”, acknowledged Van der Poel, who had already beaten Van Aert twice earlier this winter (Namen and Heusden-Zolder). “I knew beforehand that this course was really something for him and he also had a good day. It was clear very quickly that I could not follow him. I therefore only focused on second place. It made a difference to me. not much more out in the end. “
Van Aert was in his element in the mud bath of Dendermonde. The Belgian cyclo-cross rider already released Van der Poel in the second of the seven laps and soloed to the win. “It was a tough cross and there was no point in applying a tactic. From the moment I found the pace, I kept on riding it,” said the Sportsman of Belgium.
On the hill that was included in the course and where cycling in the blubber tracks was impossible, Van Aert walked away from Van der Poel. “I heard it said that I had taken a few meters ahead, so I knew then that Mathieu was suffering. It is not his habit to give space so quickly.”
Van Aert did nuance his force majeure. “You have to put that in perspective. The differences were mainly so great because it was such a tough course. I am not suddenly much better than the rest. But for myself it is nice to win with so much power. good for morale. I can enjoy these conditions. When it is cold and windy, I am completely in my element. “