For the first time in the history of the Cyclingnews Reader Poll, a Dutch man has claimed the title of Cyclo-cross Rider of the Year – it’s none other than Mathieu van der Poel, the Beobank-Corendon wunderkind who has claimed 14 of 19 races so far this season** (as of Nov 28). This year’s results combined both men and women contenders. Marianne Vos was the last Dutch woman to win the award.
Van der Poel topped world champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) by more than 3,000 votes, garnering 38 per cent of the ballots in a blow-out reminiscent of all but one World Cup round this season. British U23 phenom Tom Pidcock was third, taking 13 per cent of the votes.
Van der Poel started the last two seasons bouncing back from knee surgeries, but this year, a healthy Dutch champion followed up a highly successful road season – replete with a stage win in the Tour of Belgium before jetting off to take second in the MTB World Cup in Albstadt, the overall victory in Boucles de la Mayenne and a win at Dwars door het Hageland and – by crushing his competition in the dirt.
The domination actually began last season, with Van der Poel racking up 16 victories and winning the overall Superprestige, but his delayed start meant he missed the first two World Cups in the USA and was out of the running. His build up to the World Championships was on target last December until a crash in Loenhout saw him leave the race in a stretcher. He bounced back, but an ill-timed puncture left him a devastated second place to Van Aert at Worlds in Luxembourg.
Watch the Van der Poel’s special thank you message in the video below.
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