Category: Cyclocross

Some of Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos’s photos fro…

Some of Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos’s photos from the Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg from a CyclingTips gallery. 

Hoogstraten: Van der Poel, Cant solo to top step

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) both completed the weekend sweep on Sunday at the Superprestige Hoogstraten in Belgium. Both riders also won on Saturday at the DVV Trofee Krawatencross. One race remains in the Superprestige series and both riders lead their respective divisions. They should take home the overall titles considering the way they both dominated the races this past weekend.

The course in Hoogstraten was a flat and muddy affair. There was very little elevation change on the circuit and most of the course was a light mud. However, the mud was not terribly thick and the riders did not have dismount and run until the final section just before they turned onto the paved finishing straight. This highlighted a rider’s running ability because a bad run to finish the race could see a rider slip off the podium.

Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) led the elite men onto the course with David, not Mathieu, van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) in tow. The European Champion Mathieu van der Poel had a bad start and was outside the top 10 in the early moments of the race. World Champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) had a solid start and was with the front-runners. He posted on social media in the morning prior to the race that this would be his last of the season. It was rather interesting his last race was of the season was Sunday, as he was leading the overall Superprestige series by one point over Mathieu van der Poel entering the race. Hoogstraten was only the penultimate race in the series.

Though a muddy affair, the course in Hoogstraten was quick and the opening laps of the elite men’s race saw lots of pack riding. The front group was constantly shuffling with riders joining and dropping off. Mathieu van der Poel finally put the hammer down on the first half of the fourth lap and left everyone in his wake. He ended the lap with a 22-second advantage over a chase group that contained the likes of van Aert, Aerts, Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus), Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles), Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) and many others.

Merlier attacked the chase group on the fifth lap and David van der Poel tried to follow. The group crossed the line with four laps to go in pieces, but everyone would come back together. Tactics were beginning to play a role with such a large group and there was a lot of looking around going on. Meanwhile, Mathieu van der Poel continued to charge on ahead and extend his lead.

While riders tried to break away on the next three laps, the group entered the final lap together. It was going to be a fight to the finish. The running section at the end of the lap was sure to be critical. Sweeck attacked in the early moments of the lap and the other riders in the group looked at each other to see who would chase. This would be their downfall, as Sweeck would ride away with second place.

The final running section was an all-out sprint in the chase, as only one podium spot remained. Onto the pavement, it was a full-on sprint with David van der Poel taking the honors. Vanthourenhout took fourth and Merlier finished fifth. Van Aert finished sixth in his last race of the 2017-18 season.

Elite men Top 10

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED) CORENDON – CIRCUS, 59:33
  • 2. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL) ERA-CIRCUS, 59:55
  • 3. David Van Der Poel, (NED) CORENDON – CIRCUS, 1:00:03
  • 4. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL) MARLUX – BINGOAL, 1:00:03
  • 5. Tim Merlier, (BEL) CRELAN – CHARLES, 1:00:05
  • 6. Wout Van Aert, (BEL) CRELAN – CHARLES, 1:00:09
  • 7. Toon Aerts, (BEL) TELENET FIDEA LIONS, 1:00:12
  • 8. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL) STEYLAERTS – BETFIRST, 1:00:14
  • 9. Tom Meeusen, (BEL) CORENDON – CIRCUS, 1:00:20
  • 10. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL) ERA-CIRCUS, 1:00:37

Cant rides away, takes series lead

Two-time World Champion Sanne Cant took the holeshot in the elite women’s race and never looked back. She held nearly 10-second lead by the end of the first lap and only extended her advantage from there. Maud Katheijns (Crelan-Charles) and Cant entered the penultimate Superprestige tied on points and with Kathijns’ second-place finish the final race next weekend in Middelkere is sure to be exciting. Helen Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport) rounded out the podium in third.

As with the elite men’s race, the elite women’s race featured pack riding behind the lone leader. Kaptheijns attacked at the running section to end lap two and move into second. Though, she was already more than 20 seconds behind Cant, so the win was out of reach. The battle for the final podium spot was now on.

Wyman moved into the third spot on the third of five laps, but there was a chase group hot on her wheels. Nikki Brammeier (MUDIIITA-Canyon), Annemarie Worst (ERA-Circus) and others were together battling for the remaining spots in the top five. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) was also in the group and attacked and bridged to Wyman on the penultimate lap.

However, Del Carmen Alvarado would lose Wyman at the incredibly steep flyover late in the lap. The run into the flyover was slow due to the mud and the steepness of it meant that it was hit or miss whether a rider could ride all the way to the top. Wyman was able to make it all the way over the flyover while Del Carmen Alvarado had to dismount just short of the top. This caused her to lose contact with Wyman and she would never make it back.

Del Carmen Alvarado would finish the race in fourth with Worst fifth.

The final race of the 2017-18 Superprestige series is February 17 in Middelkerke.

Elite women full results

  • 1. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 40:26
  • 2. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 40:54
  • 3. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 41:00
  • 4. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado, (NED), 41:17
  • 5. Annemarie Worst, (NED), 41:24
  • 6. Alice Maria Arzuffi, (ITA), 41:30
  • 7. Kim Van De Steene, (BEL), 41:34
  • 8. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 41:37
  • 9. Elle Anderson, (USA), 41:49
  • 10. Loes Sels, (BEL), 42:00
  • 11. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 42:29
  • 12. Jolien Verschueren, (BEL), 42:38
  • 13. Fleur Nagengast, (NED), 42:49
  • 14. Manon Bakker, (NED), 43:19
  • 15. Laura Verdonschot, (BEL), 43:41
  • 16. Joyce Vanderbeken, (BEL), 43:50
  • 17. Pauline Delhaye, (FRA), 44:02
  • 18. Aida NuÑo Palacio, (ESP), 44:08
  • 19. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 44:16
  • 20. Suzanne Verhoeven, (BEL), 44:42
  • 21. Rebecca Fahringer, (USA), 44:57
  • 22. Alicia Franck, (BEL), 45:18
  • 23. Bianca Van Den Hoek, (NED), 45:35
  • 24. Denise Betsema, (NED), 45:35
  • 25. Kim Van De Putte, (BEL), 45:41
  • 26. Margriet Kloppenburg, (DEN), 46:17
  • 27. Veerle Goossens, (NED), 47:00
  • 28. Irene Gerritsen, (NED), 47:09
  • 29. Stefanie Paul, (GER), 47:19
  • 30. Jana Dobbelaere, (BEL), 47:34
  • 31. Laura Van Der Zwaan, (NED)
  • 32. Laura Krans, (NED)
  • 33. Shana Maes, (BEL)
  • 34. Corey Coogan Cisek, (USA)
  • 35. Caren Commissaris, (BEL)
  • 36. Tine Rombouts, (BEL)
  • 37. Tinne Vermeiren, (BEL)
  • 38. Kristien Nelen, (BEL)
  • 39. Tess Van Loy, (BEL)

Elite men full results

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 59:33
  • 2. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 59:55
  • 3. David Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:00:03
  • 4. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:00:03
  • 5. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:00:05
  • 6. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 1:00:09
  • 7. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:00:12
  • 8. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:00:14
  • 9. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:00:20
  • 10. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL), 1:00:37
  • 11. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED), ,1:01:21
  • 12. Jens Adams, (BEL), 1:01:28
  • 13. Quinten Hermans, (BEL), 1:01:34
  • 14. Nicolas Cleppe, (BEL), 1:01:34
  • 15. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:01:44
  • 16. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:01:54
  • 17. Dieter Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:02:01
  • 18. Jim Aernouts, (BEL), 1:02:08
  • 19. Gioele Bertolini, (ITA), 1:02:32
  • 20. Daan Soete, (BEL), 1:02:42
  • 21. Felipe Orts Lloret, (ESP), 1:02:52
  • 22. Michael BoroŠ, (CZE), 1:03:01
  • 23. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:03:07
  • 24. Joeri Adams, (BEL), 1:03:09
  • 25. Marcel Meisen, (GER), 1:03:37
  • 26. Rob Peeters, (BEL), 1:03:46
  • 27. Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga IbaÑez, (ESP), 1:04:23
  • 28. Braam Merlier, (BEL), 1:04:29
  • 29. Kenneth Van Compernolle, (BEL), 1:04:57
  • 30. Ismael Esteban Aguero, (ESP)
  • 31. Patrick Van Leeuwen, (NED)
  • 32. Stan Godrie, (NED)
  • 33. Michael Van Den Ham, (CAN)
  • 34. Thijs Van Amerongen, (NED)
  • 35. Tobin Ortenblad, (USA)
  • 36. Jens Gys, (BEL)
  • 37. Kerry Werner, (USA)
  • 38. Eric Thompson, (USA)
  • 39. Jonas Degroote, (BEL)
  • 40. Niels Koyen, (BEL)
  • 41. Mark Mcconnell, (CAN)
  • 42. Tyler Cloutier, (USA)
  • 43. Vincent Oger, (BEL)

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Krawatencross: Van der Poel back on top, Cant victorious

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and World Champion Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) were victorious in Lille, Belgium on Saturday at Krawatencross.

Van der Poel also took the overall title the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee for the elite men on Saturday, as Krawatencross was the final race in the season-long eight-race series. The Dutchman took seven wins in the series. He missed out on the top step at the first race back in October, the GP Mario de Clercq. He finished second there to Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea).

American Katie Compton (KFC Racing-Trek-Panache) captured the elite women’s title, which she actually secured at the penultimate race, the GP Sven Nys, on the first of the year.

After a disappointing world championship race, where he finished with the bronze medal, van der Poel got back to demolishing the elite men’s field in Lille. In his first race back since that awful day in Valkenburg, the Netherlands a week ago, van der Poel took the holeshot and soled the rest of the race to the victory.

The course in Lille was dry and incredibly fast. However, there were quite a few sand sections on the course, but by the time the elite men toed the line, the sand was all rutted and rideable. Thus, pack riding and conserving energy until late in the race was the key to success behind van der Poel.

Three-time World Champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) didn’t look to have his heart in the race, as he sat in the back half of groups throughout hour-long event. On the last lap, he waved to the crowd on multiple occasions and rolled across the finish line in eighth.

The closing laps of the race were an edge-of-the-seat affair, as multiple battles raged in the top 10. Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) and Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles) were wheel-to-wheel for the final two podium spots and it was just a matter of which step either one of them would be standing on.

Sweeck led-out the sprint down the finishing straight, but Merlier proved to have enough gas left in the engine to sprint past and take second behind van der Poel.

Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Bingoal) were also locked-in battle until van Kessel dropped his chain on the penultimate lap. The Dutchman didn’t only lose a chance to contest fourth place, but also lost his confidence. He finished the race down in seventh, as his Telenet Fidea teammates, van der Haar and Toon Aerts, past him to take fifth and sixth.

Aerts finished second in the DVV Trofee series, over eight minutes down on van der Poel. The DVV Trofee is based on time, unlike most cyclocross series, which are based on points. Van Aert finished third overall with Sweeck and Pauwels rounding out the top five.

Top 10, Elite men

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED) CORENDON – CIRCUS, 1:01:42
  • 2. Tim Merlier, (BEL) CRELAN – CHARLES, 1:02:20
  • 3. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL) ERA-CIRCUS, 1:02:22
  • 4. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL) MARLUX – BINGOAL, 1:02:39
  • 5. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED) TELENET FIDEA LIONS, 1:02:54
  • 6. Toon Aerts, (BEL) TELENET FIDEA LIONS, 1:03:02
  • 7. Corne Van Kessel, (NED) TELENET FIDEA LIONS, 1:03:12
  • 8. Wout Van Aert, (BEL) CRELAN – CHARLES, 1:03:30
  • 9. Tom Meeusen, (BEL) CORENDON – CIRCUS, 1:03:45
  • 10. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL) MARLUX – BINGOAL, 1:04:13

Cant wins for fifth time in season series, Comptom secures overall title

Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) and Cant got off to a quick start in Lille, separating themselves from the pack early on the opening lap. Annemarie Worst (ERA-Circus) and Ellen van Loy (Telenet Firdea) chased with the former bridging to the leaders before the end of the first circuit.

Laura Verdonschot (Marlux-Bingoal) led the main chase group, which also included Manon Bakker (Experza-Footlogix) and Loes Sels (Crelan-Charles). Compton was over 30 seconds down at the end of the opening lap. Lille was also Compton’s final race of the 2017-18 season.

Cant hit the accelerator on the third of five laps and left Kapthijns and Worst behind. Her move must have put Worst on the limit, as she crashed on an off-camber U-turn and lost contact with Kaptheijns. The top three would all time trial for the rest of the race to finish first, second and third.

In the battle for fourth, Verdonschot and Bakker ended the final lap together, as van Loy slide backward. In the last month of the season, the Belgian rider has been starting well, but has not been able to sustain the 40-minute effort. Van Loy has faded off the podium late on multiple occasions recently.

Verdonschot would get the better of Bakker to take fourth with Sels coming home in sixth. Compton put the power down late in the race to finish seventh, just ahead of Nikki Brammeier (MUDIIITA-Canyon).

After DNFing the first race in the DVV Trofee series and skipping the second one, Koppenbergcross, Cant won five of the final six races. Not finishing the GP Mario de Clercq put Cant out of the running for the overall title.

Compton never finished off the podium in the series and captured two victories, the GP Mario de Clercq and GP Sven Nys. She comfortably won the overall title over Kaptheijns and Brammeier, who were second and third respectively.

Elite women full results

  • 1. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 44:45
  • 2. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 44:58
  • 3. Annemarie Worst, (NED), 45:23
  • 4. Laura Verdonschot, (BEL), 45:40
  • 5. Manon Bakker, (NED), 45:46
  • 6. Loes Sels, (BEL), 45:59
  • 7. Katherine Compton, (USA), 46:27
  • 8. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 46:44
  • 9. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 46:45
  • 10. Alice Maria Arzuffi, (ITA), 46:59
  • 11. Inge Van Der Heijden, (NED), 47:03
  • 12. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 47:09
  • 13. Fleur Nagengast, (NED), 47:16
  • 14. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 47:17
  • 15. Kim Van De Steene, (BEL), 47:27
  • 16. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado, (NED), 47:48
  • 17. Elle Anderson, (USA), 47:51
  • 18. Alicia Franck, (BEL), 47:51
  • 19. Aniek Van Alphen, (NED), 47:54
  • 20. Joyce Vanderbeken, (BEL), 48:22
  • 21. Pauline Delhaye, (FRA), 48:25
  • 22. Mascha Mulder, (NED), 48:43
  • 23. Maaike De Heij, (NED), 48:49
  • 24. Aida NuÑo Palacio, (ESP), 48:55
  • 25. Veerle Goossens, (NED), 49:00
  • 26. Geerte Hoeke, (NED), 49:10
  • 27. Lindy Van Anrooij, (NED), 49:14
  • 28. Pavla HavlÍkovÁ, (CZE), 49:22
  • 29. Esther Van Der Burg, (NED), 49:30
  • 30. Suzanne Verhoeven, (BEL), 49:34
  • 31. Jinse Peeters, (BEL), 49:36
  • 32. Rebecca Fahringer, (USA), 50:08
  • 33. Marthe Truyen, (BEL), 50:11
  • 34. Shana Maes, (BEL), 50:20
  • 35. Jolien Verschueren, (BEL), 50:25
  • 36. Bianca Van Den Hoek, (NED), 50:47
  • 37. Stefanie Paul, (GER), 51:06
  • 38. Meg De Bruyne, (BEL), 51:23
  • 39. Tessa Zwaenepoel, (BEL), 51:33
  • 40. Lise Van Wunsel, (BEL), 52:35
  • 41. Didi De Vries, (NED), 52:57
  • 42. Tinne Vermeiren, (BEL), 53:18
  • 43. Kristien Nelen, (BEL), 53:32
  • 44. Jana Dobbelaere, (BEL), 53:44
  • 45. Julia Boschker, (NED), 54:00
  • 46. Laura Krans, (NED)
  • 47. Tess Van Loy, (BEL)
  • 48. Sabine Hey, (NED)
  • 49. Aurelie Vermeir, (BEL)
  • 50. Corey Coogan Cisek, (USA)
  • 51. Lisette Schoon, (NED)
  • 52. Nele De Vos, (BEL)
  • 53. Karen De Keulenaer, (BEL)
  • 54. Jo Blanchaert, (BEL)
  • 55. Tine Verdeyen, (BEL)

Elite men full results

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:01:42
  • 2. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:02:20
  • 3. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 1:02:22
  • 4. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:02:39
  • 5. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED), 1:02:54
  • 6. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:03:02
  • 7. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:03:12
  • 8. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 1:03:30
  • 9. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:03:45
  • 10. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:04:13
  • 11. Jim Aernouts, (BEL), 1:04:27
  • 12. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:04:27
  • 13. Nicolas Cleppe, (BEL), 1:04:43
  • 14. Dieter Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:04:43
  • 15. Jens Adams, (BEL), 1:04:57
  • 16. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:05:27
  • 17. Michael BoroŠ, (CZE), 1:05:37
  • 18. Braam Merlier, (BEL), 1:05:41
  • 19. Felipe Orts Lloret, (ESP), 1:06:02
  • 20. Stijn Huys, (BEL), 1:06:32
  • 21. David Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:06:59
  • 22. Ingmar Uytdewilligen, (BEL), 1:07:13
  • 23. Joeri Adams, (BEL), 1:07:23
  • 24. Hendrik Sweeck, (BEL), 1:07:29
  • 25. Onno Verheyen, (BEL), 1:07:37
  • 26. Kerry Werner, (USA), 1:07:50
  • 27. Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga IbaÑez, (ESP), 1:07:51
  • 28. Tobin Ortenblad, (USA), 1:07:52
  • 29. Rob Peeters, (BEL), 1:08:10
  • 30. Kenneth Van Compernolle, (BEL), 1:08:26
  • 31. Patrick Van Leeuwen, (NED)
  • 32. Dario Tielen, (BEL)
  • 33. Jens Gys, (BEL)
  • 34. Yelle Leaerts, (BEL)
  • 35. Michael Van Den Ham, (CAN)
  • 36. Eric Thompson, (USA)
  • 37. Nicolas Pruvot, (FRA)
  • 38. Edwin De Wit, (BEL)
  • 39. Niels Koyen, (BEL)
  • 40. Mark Mcconnell, (CAN)
  • 41. Wouter Goosen, (BEL)
  • 42. Julien Kaise, (BEL)
  • 43. Sieën Veestraeten, (BEL)
  • 44. Jelle De Bock, (BEL)
  • 45. Tyler Cloutier, (USA)
  • 46. Pieter Meelberghs, (BEL)
  • 47. Vincent Oger, (BEL)

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VN Show: Compton and Cant’s muddy battle; how did van Aert win worlds?

Editor’s note: This VeloNews Show includes images from Tim de Waele/Getty Images, YouTube/UCI, YouTube/Brain On Wheels, YouTube/nonamecat1, Het Nieuwsblad,, Flickr/Creative Commons 

This week’s episode of the VeloNews Show is sponsored by Bkool, which is offering VeloNews fans three-month free trial and a chance to win a Bkool smart trainer

Enter to win >> 

The UCI World Cyclocross Championships delivered plenty of drama and excitement — and lots and lots of mud. On this week’s episode of The VeloNews Show, we break down all of the action from Valkenburg.

Katie Compton and Sanne Cant delivered an edge-of-your-seat battle in the elite women’s race, with the decisive move coming on the final lap. Did Compton’s choice of a later pit impact the outcome?

In the men’s race, Wout van Aert put on a show of domination, beating his rival Mathieu van der Poel by more than two minutes. Afterward, van der Poel’s dad had a pretty hot take about van Aert’s win. What do we make of the big victory?

All that and more on this week’s VeloNews Show.

The post VN Show: Compton and Cant’s muddy battle; how did van Aert win worlds? appeared first on

Another world championship, another triple&hel…

Another world championship, another triple…Wout van Aert surprises many and retains his hold on the rainbow stripes. Thanks to Balint Hamvas for the photo.

Roundtable: A wild, unpredictable ‘cross worlds

Many riders were saying that the 2018 UCI World Cyclocross Championships were the hardest in years. The races were also some of the most surprising and exciting we’ve seen in awhile. American Katie Compton came within one muddy lap of her first world title but instead finished silver to Sanne Cant, her fourth second-place result. In the men’s race, everyone expected Mathieu van der Poel to walk away with a second rainbow jersey, but instead Wout van Aert manhandled the heavy track. Ready for a roundtable? We are!

Take us through your range of emotions watching Katie Compton during the elite women’s race, lap by lap.

Spencer Powlison, news director @spino_powerlegs: Lap 1: Okay, top-10 isn’t too bad, we can work with this. Lap 2: There we go, a medal might be possible. Lap 3: Holy S—t this is happening!! What would be the perfect headline for this? Lap 4: No. Nooo. Nooo!

Chris Case, managing editor @chrisjustincase: Lap 1: Gaaaaah, where’s Katie?! Not again! Did she get another bad start? (I wholeheartedly admit I may have been too quick to overreact.) Lap 2: Oh, there she is! Nice. Steady… Lap 3: Holy crap. This is it, this is it, this is the year. She’s going to do it. (I wholeheartedly admit I many have prematurely started to envision the win.) Lap 4: Come on, come on…(and then when her entire gap vanished in the pits) a lot of cursing and muttering and, yes, cheering.

Michael Better, reporter @fedora_mike: Lap 1: Ugh, another bad start. Lap 2: Alright here she comes, but geez Sanne can run. Lap 3: Boom goes the dynamite! Lap 4: Does Sanne run marathons in training?

Was this Katie Compton’s last best chance at winning a rainbow jersey?

Spencer: It’ll depend on the conditions in the coming years. She pointed out that there hasn’t been a heavy, hard worlds in years, which isn’t usually in her favor. Next year will be in Denmark — if weather blows in from the North Sea, maybe she’ll have another shot.

Chris: Some people would have said that she had her best chance years ago. But look what she did this year. So, no, absolutely not. She continues to defy her age, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her back at the front next year.

Michael: There was a strong vibe that if Compton didn’t win this year she never would, but I don’t see it that way. She had one of her best seasons and best worlds races in recent years. It doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, so on to Denmark!

Is there anything Compton could have done differently to win the race?

Spencer: She should have skipped that first pit on the final lap. It’s a bit of a risk, but from a psychological standpoint, Cant got a huge boost when she cruised up to Compton’s wheel like that. I think if Compton had kept her on the ropes, Cant might have lost her spark or made a mistake in her haste to chase back to the front.

Chris: I don’t think so. As she said, she went as fast and for as long as she could. Sanne Cant just had more in the end. If she hadn’t had to run the length of the pits on the last lap, I still think that Sanne would have caught her. Since the Belgian pulled back all of Compton’s lead in a matter of seconds, it was just that much more shocking.

Michael: Run faster? Not have a bad start? Coulda, shoulda, woulda. She had a great race and put on a show, end of story.

When did you realize that things weren’t going Mathieu van der Poel’s way in Sunday’s race?

Spencer: As soon as he looked over his shoulder to check on Michael Vanthourenhout, I knew it was over. No disrespect to Vanthourenhout, but he can’t carry van der Poel’s bib shorts. If MvdP is worried about fighting for a silver medal, his head isn’t in the game and his legs are even worse off.

Chris: When he made his first acceleration after getting to the head of the race. When Wout was able to stick with him, I knew that there was a good chance that MvdP was not going to dominate. You could see it in his body language almost instantly.

Michael: When van Aert threw down a 9:30 lap and put 25 seconds into him. Belgian national anthem was already in the queue for the podium ceremony with over 40 minutes left to race.

Could Wout van Aert have still won on a faster, less-technical course?

Spencer: I think he could have won on a fast day like we saw in Hoogerheide last weekend, but it wouldn’t have been such a cakewalk. Van der Poel would have had more opportunities to hang in there and battle at the end. There was nowhere to hide in Valkenburg.

Chris: Sure, but I don’t think it would have played out the same way. If Mathieu is on a bad day on a course that arguably suits his strengths better, he may be able to stick around longer or utilize his strengths better. But he was totally exposed out there. And Wout was on a twice-in-a-lifetime type day.

Michael: Who knows? It doesn’t matter. We can play the what-if game all day. Chapeau to van Aert for putting it together after van der Poel kicked his head in all season.

Van der Poel dominated van Aert all season, but the roles were reversed at worlds — how do we wrap our minds around that?

Spencer: I’m stunned. It was a great course for van Aert, it was a bad day for van der Poel — maybe he had too much pressure on his shoulders? But still, how could the dynamic flip so dramatically? I guess that’s what makes cyclocross so fun for fans.

Chris: It’s hard to believe in some ways, because not only did MvdP lose, he lost by 2:30. He’s probably never lost a race by that margin in his life. Yet he is having one of the best seasons any ‘cross racer has had in the modern era. He has beaten Wout on 26 of 32 occasions. Therein lies the nature of bike racing though. MvdP hasn’t beaten Wout every time. Even the best have bad days. And, boy, did he choose the wrong day to not be at the top of his game.

Michael: Valkenburg had a strong Namur feel to it and that’s where van Aert won handily (by over a minute) this year. Not a terrible surprise he won. You don’t become a three-time world champion without knowing exactly how to put it together on the one day of the year that matters the most. He was my pick after all, but shhh don’t tell anyone.

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Gallery: A hat-trick in Valkenburg

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Three-peat: Van Aert defies the odds to take elite men’s title

It is rare that a two-time defending champion begins the world championships as a big underdog, but as was the case for the Belgian Wout van Aert on Sunday. Van Aert overcame the odds in Valkenburg, the Netherlands to win the elite men’s UCI Cyclocross World Championship for a third consecutive year.

However, simply saying he won is an understatement. He finished over two minutes ahead of his nearest rival, fellow Belgian Michael Vanthourenhout. The former under-23 world cyclocross champion was ecstatic as he crossed the line to capture the silver medal.

Mathieu van der Poel entered the race the man to beat. He has over 25 victories this season and has been destroying the competition. Many of his victories seemed to come with ease and the rider getting second on most occasions was van Aert. Van der Poel was also on home soil, making him an even bigger favorite.

From the second lap onwards, van der Poel was unable to keep pace with van Aert and Belgian cruised to the victory nearly flawlessly. The one blemish was a crash on lap five when he clipped a post on the side of the course and flipped over the handlebars into the mud. He recovered quickly enough and kept on pushing forward.

Vanthourenhout attacked van der Poel on the fourth of seven laps, after catching the Dutchman at the end of the second lap. Van der Poel dug deep on the final lap and nearly clawed his way back to Vanthourenhout, but it was not enough.

Van der Poel’s bronze medal turned out to be key, as the Dutch just nearly avoided a Belgian sweep in the elite men’s race. It would have been embarrassing for the Netherlands to not only be locked out of the medals in the marque event of the weekend, but also swept by its rival nation. Toon Aerts finished in fourth for Belgium and Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) finished fifth.

Top 10

  • 1. Wout Van Aert, (BEL) , in 1:09:00
  • 2. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL) , at 2:13
  • 3. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED) , at 2:30
  • 4. Toon Aerts, (BEL) , at 3:16
  • 5. Lars Van Der Haar, (NED) , at 4:29
  • 6. Gioele Bertolini, (ITA) , at 4:42
  • 7. Tim Merlier, (BEL) , at 4:56
  • 8. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL) , at 5:21
  • 9. Daan Soete, (BEL) , at 5:30
  • 10. Steve Chainel, (FRA) , at 5:51

Full report and results to come

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CX Worlds: Iserbyt captures second career under-23 championship

Belgian Eli Iserbyt emphatically took back the rainbow bands on Sunday in Valkenburg, the Netherlands. He had triumphed in the under-23 race at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Zolder in 2016, but a horrible race a year later in Biel, Luxembourg saw him finish outside of the top 15.

However, in Valkenburg Iserbyt was untouchable. He took the lead early on second lap and rode nearly the entire race alone. He overcame stumbles and crashes, though nearly every rider a couple of those, and gave Belgium its second world champion of the weekend after Sanne Cant successfully defended her title in the elite women’s race on Saturday.

Defending champion and Dutchman Joris Nieuwenhuis fought valiantly for the host nation. He was forced to change his shoe in the pits on the second lap after a crash and thus, Iserbyt slipped away. He fought off a late charge by France’s Yan Gras to secure the silver medal. Gras took home the Bronze medal.

Heavy pre-race favorite Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) did not have a good day. He had a horrible start and struggled to find his rhythm throughout the race. He finished in 16th. Though, he is a first-year under-23 rider, meaning he still has many years to grow and mature.

American Gage Hecht had a solid ride to finish ninth.

Top 10

  • 1. Eli Iserbyt, (Belgium) , in 50:54:00
  • 2. Joris Nieuwenhuis, (Netherlands), at 0:28
  • 3. Yan Gras, (France), at 0:35
  • 4. Adam Toupalik, (Czech Republic), at 1:25
  • 5. Thijs Aerts, (Belgium), at 1:46
  • 6. Antoine Benoist, (France), at 1:55
  • 7. Sieben Wouters, (Netherlands), at 2:25
  • 8. Jakob Dorigoni, (Italy), at 2:56
  • 9. Gage Hecht, (United States of America , at 3:04
  • 10. Timo Kielich, (Belgium), at 3:11

Full report and results to come

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No regrets for Compton after near-miss at toughest worlds in years

Few cyclists can understand the tangled emotions of a silver medal quite like Katie Compton.

If Saturday’s second-place finish in the UCI World Cyclocross Championships were her first podium appearance, it would have been a triumph. But, no, it was her fourth silver medal over a long career of ups and downs. Yet Compton will leave Valkenburg, the Netherlands with few regrets. This was the most difficult cyclocross world championships in recent memory with heavy mud on a hilly track, and she was up against Sanne Cant, a rival Compton deems the best female cyclocross world champion ever.

“She’s probably the strongest and most well-rounded world champion we’ve had,” Compton told VeloNews. “She wins in sand. She wins in mud. She wins on fast courses. She wins early season, late season.”

And Compton is an authority on the canon of world beaters. Eleven years ago, when Sanne Cant was 16, Katie Compton won her first silver medal at UCI World Cyclocross Championships at Hooglede-Gits, Belgium.

Since that day in 2007, where she tangled with two Frenchwomen and ended up second — barely — to Maryline Salvetat, Compton collected three other medals, facing stars such as Marianne Vos and Hanka Kupfernagel along the way.

However, Compton’s history with worlds is just as much about bad luck and health issues as it is near misses on the medal stand.

A year after her breakthrough worlds ride, Compton withdrew from the 2008 championships in Treviso, Italy with debilitating, cramp-like leg pains. The same mysterious ailment forced her to abandon 2010 worlds after one lap in Tabor, Czech Republic.

Her worlds misfortunes haven’t been limited to health struggles, which also included hypothyroidism and asthma. In 2014, she looked like an outright favorite, coming off her second consecutive World Cup series win, and a silver medal at Louisville Worlds. Early on, Compton tangled with Pavla Havlikova and never saw the front of the race.

Although Compton’s 2017-2018 season was one of her best, the final World Cup in Hoogerheide, less than a week before worlds, raised concerns.

Compton started slowly as she often does — a characteristic that has given her trouble at many big races. Then she flatted. But worse still, she had an asthma attack, plummeting from fifth at one point to 22nd.

“I was frustrated with myself for a couple days but then I let it go,” she said. “This [worlds ] course is night and day compared to last weekend.”

The muddy mess of the Valkenburg course played to her strengths. She had a decent start then set about moving from top-10 to top-five, to right on Cant’s wheel in second.

Although the Belgian was a faster runner in the slop, Compton was finding time here and there, growing her lead with skillful cornering and consistency. As the bell rang for the final lap, she had an eight-second lead.

“I was just trying to focus on the race and the last lap and the lines,” Compton said. “Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about being in the lead.”

Then, as is sometimes the case in ‘cross, things changed not with a catastrophe, but with a slight error. Compton had to dismount early and run through the entire pit on the last lap. Cant took her pit bike at the start of the pit, then caught and passed the American.

“I don’t think we picked the right pit box in hindsight,” Compton said. “That was good pit box when the course was dry.”

With fatigue already building, the extra effort of running farther put Compton into the red. Cant slipped away. “I would say my first three laps were much better than my last lap,” Compton said. “That’s what my body gave me today.”

So was she frustrated by another near-miss at worlds, on a day when the course seemed ideal for her diesel power and handling skills?

“I’m getting really good at getting second,” she said, flashing her wry sense of humor. “I’m okay with that. I did the best I could — I couldn’t have gone any harder.”

After the race, Cant told television broadcasters that it was the toughest race of her career. Compton agreed when asked later.

“It was hard I have to say. It’s probably one of the hardest world championships I’ve raced,” Compton said. “I’m glad I made Sanne work for it, I’m glad she was struggling as much as I was.”

Like any competitive athlete, Compton would rather be packing a rainbow jersey in her luggage when she flies home to Colorado in a week, following the final round of the DVV Trofee (which she’s on track to win). But the perspective that comes with a long career — back to her first national championship win in 2004 — quells any regrets.

“This one feels as good as my first silver medal in 2007. Mainly because I had a good race,” she said. “I’m just happy I won my first medal 11 years ago, and I’m still on the podium at world championships. I’m pretty happy with that consistency.”

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