In a display of cyclocross mastery, Mathieu van der Poel clinched a commanding victory at the GP Sven Nys. The early stages of the race saw him accompanied by Wout van Aert and Pim Ronhaar, but Van der Poel soon left them trailing. Van Aert secured second place, while Ronhaar completed the podium in third.
The X2O Trofee Baal, held on a challenging, muddy course, was highly anticipated, as it featured the sport’s top three contenders. Van der Poel and Van Aert initially exchanged the lead, with Van Aert appearing particularly aggressive in the opening lap. However, a slip in the mud by Van Aert allowed Van der Poel to seize the moment and accelerate ahead, creating a decisive gap.
As the race progressed, Van der Poel’s lead only grew, leaving Van Aert and Ronhaar to battle for the remaining podium spots. Tom Pidcock, initially well-positioned, fell back during the race, finishing outside the top ten. Van der Poel’s victory marked his eighth consecutive win of the season, finishing almost two minutes ahead of Van Aert.
Van Aert, representing the newly renamed Visma | Lease a Bike for the first time, admitted he had hoped to challenge Van der Poel more closely but acknowledged the superior strength of his rival on the day. Despite the tough conditions, Van Aert managed to maintain a significant gap over Ronhaar, securing a comfortable second place.
Ronhaar expressed satisfaction with his performance, noting his ability to keep up with the pace set by Van der Poel and Van Aert initially. He remarked on his improved endurance and consistency throughout the season so far.
Van der Poel, reflecting on his victory, enjoyed the technical aspects and challenges presented by the Baal course. He highlighted the fairness and enjoyment found in such demanding muddy conditions, which he feels are the true essence of cyclocross.
GP Sven Nys Baal 2024 Men result
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos