Mathieu van der Poel (NED) has now won seven of ten Cyclo-cross races he has competed on during this season. He had a dominant week again.
He almost remained fully unbeaten at the 2020 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cups until Wout van Aert (BEL) beat him in the very last race of the year -a very difficult World Cup at Dendermone-, adding more spice to their rivalry.
But Mathieu would settle the score in his favor this week.
First, he won the Class 2 Cyclocross Bredene on December 30th, over Toon Aerts (BEL) and Michael Vanthourenhout (BEL). So did female World Champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED).
On January 1st, he started the year by taking the Class 1 X²0 badkamers Trofee – GP Sven Nys, which he leads. He beat van Aert by eight seconds. Then came Thomas Pidcock (ENG), an impressive Eli Iserbyt (BEL) -who was coming back from an injury sustained last week-, and Michael Vanhourenthout (BEL).
Alvarado won as well and she also leads the accumulated time classification. She was able to cut Lucinda Brand’s impressive winning streak, which as with van der Poel, amounted to almost every Cyclo-Cross race she took part of last year. Except Alvarado won the World Championship.
Brand came just four seconds after Alvarado, followed by Denise Betsema (NED), and two riders that crossed together: Fem van Empel (NED) and Sanne Cant (BEL).
January 2nd was a very busy day for Cyclo-Cross, with two Class 1 and one Class 2 races. The Class 1 races were outside of Belgium or Netherlands, which meant the very top riders were not present.
The French Troyes Cyclocross International mostly had French riders and they occupied the 2nd to 7th places but van der Poel (NED) won…David van der Poel, Mathieu’s brother, over Clement Venturini (FRA) and Ugo Ananie (FRA).
The female race was also mostly made up of French riders and they were 2nd to 13th, but it was Kenay de Moyer (BEL) who won over Louis Sparafel (FRA) and Jules Fernandes (FRA).
The other Class 1 was the Swiss EKZ CrossTour Hittnau, which had a Swiss 1-2-3 in the Men’s Division (Kuhn-Rüegg-Forster). Christine Majerus (LUX) won the Women’s Division over Elisabeth Brandau (DEU) and Eva Lechner (ITA).
Back in Belgium Mathieu van der Poel did not stop and he won the Class 2 Cyclocross Gullegem over Pidcock, while van Aert rested.
Today, January 3rd, they crossed over to Netherlands for the 2020-2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Hulst. And yes, van der Poel won again. And he absolutely dominated, beating van Aert by a minute and a half. The came Pidcock, Vanthourenhout and Aerts.
Lucinda Brand finished second again but this time she was defeated by Denise Betsema (NED) by a minute, while Alvarado came third.
Next week will see the National Championships taking place but the Dutch Championships have been cancelled due to the pandemic, so van der Poel will not be able to defend his title. It is unclear if we will come back to cyclo-cross for the rest of the season. So far it seems clear that he is the best but it would be best to see him win the World Championship at the end of January to confirm it.