World Champion Mathieu Van der Poel appears to be coming into form at the right time to defend his title next month, as he took his second UCI World Cup victory in Heusden-Zolder yesterday, one week after winning the Namur round.
Van der Poel set a furious pace early on, with only three riders able to keep up – Belgian Champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team). Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team).
Van der Poel and Van der Haar then pulled clear with Pauwels later bridging across and half-way through the nine-lap race, this leading trio were a minute clear of the chasing group of about a dozen riders. which included World Cup leader Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Continental Team).
This trio stayed together but on lap seven, Van der Poel attacked. However, he was unable to get clear of Van der Haar and Pauwels. Misfortune hit Van der Haar just before the start of the last lap, when he punctured putting him out of contention.
Van der Poel attacked again on a steep run-up and Pauwels was unable to stay with the World Champion who went on to take the win.
Van der Haar managed to hang to third place as Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) won the sprint for fourth place from Vantornout.
Van Aert could only managed eighth place, but the 21-year-old Belgian rider still holds a lead of 16 points over Lars van der Haar, who moves from third to second place in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup standings ahead of Sven Nys.