Mathieu van der Poel wins World Cup round in Benidorm
Written by Costa Blanca Radio on 22 January 2023
Mathieu van der Poel has won the World Cup round in Benidorm. The Dutchman made it after a pressing duel for Wout van Aert, who could only just stay straight in a treacherous sprint. For the first time, the Cyclo-cross World Cup settled in Benidorm. Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Pidcock came together for the first time since the Azencross in Loenhout at the end of December at the start of a cross, European and Belgian champion Michael Vanthourenhout had to give up due to illness.
Van der Poel complained about back pain before the training break, but that was not noticeable in Benidorm. The Dutchman shot like a spear from the starting blocks. World champion Pidcock thought it wasn’t going fast enough and handed out some solid jabs, but on the lightning fast track it turned out to be very difficult to build up a difference.
Pidcock seemed to be the best man in the race for a while, but suddenly fell through the ice in the fourth lap when Van der Poel and Van Aert pushed hard on an ascending asphalt strip. The moment was not decisive, but it became clear that the Briton would fall short of victory.
During the remainder of the cross, Van der Poel and Van Aert remained evenly matched, so that Sweeck and Iserbyt entered the final round. They played no significant role in this – a duel between Van der Poel and Van Aert would decide the victory. The Dutchman made it an elongated sprint and got ahead of Van Aert, who came into contact with the crush barriers in the sprint.