The trail in Switzerland was a lot harder than Saturday. Due to the rainfall it had become a mudpool. Not exactly what the Dutch champion wants, but it was just like that. The Belgians mainly wanted to drive in a block and try to crack Van der Poel like that.
But after one meter that hope was gone. Van der Poel shot like a rocket from the starting blocks, was the first to plunge into the Swiss field and immediately went up the pace. Toon Aerts got into the wheel of the Dutchman, then Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout. Wout van Aert did not start from the first row, but quickly moved a number of places.
It was immediately clear that Van der Poel had an excellent day. Aerts had to get everything out of the closet to be able to follow the “Flying Dutchman”. On a part of the course with a few hills, where the crossers had to get off the bike, Van der Poel always grabbed a few meters on the winner of the world cup. Aerts stomped like crazy in the mud, rocking his body back and forth. But the bird had started to fly. After one round, Van der Poel already had a 12-second lead over Aerts and Iserbyt.
The one-man show had started at the airport in Dübendorf, while the Belgians – with Van Aert – joined together in the battle for silver. Of the other foreigners, only Tom Pidcock was invited. While the wind in Switzerland started to blow harder, Van der Poel gradually increased his lead. After 27 minutes of cross, in the third round, the Belgians faced a delay of more than one minute.
The cross fans kept shouting loudly and rattling with cowbells, but it was not all very exciting. “This is extraterrestrial,” Sven Nys responded in between. “Then you can still have a tactic, if someone stands out like that …” The focus then went to the battle for the silver and there a strong Pidcock distinguished itself with a sharp attack.
Initially, Iserbyt went along with the Brit, but the West Flemish had to release quickly. It was Aerts and Van Aert who then started the chase on Pidcock. All that at more than a minute and a half from the leader. Due to a flat tire, Van Aert had to quit his fellow countryman, but Aerts did not close the gap with the former world champion in the promises.
Van der Poel changed his bike again and rode to the finish with peace of mind. His third cyclocross world title with the elite was never really in danger. He was in the lead literally from start to finish. For the Belgians it was a bale day because Pidcock drove to a nice second place. Aerts kept the black-yellow-red honor high with the bronze, for Van Aert who lost more than two minutes to his big rival.
1. Mathieu van der Poel in 1:08:52
2. Tom Pidcock + 1’20 ”
3. Show Aerts + 1’45 ”
4. Wout van Aert + 2’04 ”
5. Laurens Sweeck + 2’32 ”
6. Michael Vanthourenhout + 3’12 ”
7. Corné van Kessel + 3’52 ”
8. Tim Merlier + 4’32 ”
9. Quinten Hermans + 4’48 ”
10. Eli Iserbyt + 5’11 ”