Mathieu Van der Poel continues to dominate cyclocross, after adding a 3rd world title to his exemplary palmeres this weekend. His iron grip on the 2020 Men’s Elite Cyclocross World Championships never faltered as he led the race from start to finish.
It was a display of confidence, bike handling, strength, and soul crushing dominance that led to the 25 year-old Dutch phenom to dismount before the line and take a bow as cannons blasted confetti overhead. Van der Poel purposefully took a new bike his last time through the pits and the glistening, Shimano equipped, Canyon Infinite looked about as fresh as the rider, who, although covered in mud, remounted with a spring that shouldn’t be possible after such an effort.
The race’s excitement actually developed about 60 seconds behind Van der Poel when the young Brit Tom Pidcock, U-23 World Champion a year ago, attacked a chase group of 5 Belgians with 4 laps remaining. One by one, they would get close to him, and one by one, he held them off. In the end, Pidcock held on to capture Britain’s first ever Elite Men’s podium place in the event with silver. The result confirms Pidcock’s place in the elite category, which will make excellent behind-the-scenes viewing in his team’s YouTube series.
One place off the podium, but still a very promising ride, was former cyclocross World Champ, Wout Van Aert. Van Aert crashed heavily in the Tour de France and suffered potentially career ending injuries. He wouldn’t race again until December 27th, so a 4th place in such a hard race shows that the Belgian is not only on track for the road season, but also a head to head this spring with nemesis Van der Poel.
The women’s race featured a much more exciting finish, with the top 3 riders unable to shake each other. In the end, the win was decided in a breathless sprint between Annemarie Worst and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, the latter pulling clear in the final 25 meters to claim her first elite title.
The race was dominated by the Dutch. As early as the first lap, an all Dutch lead trio was never challenged from behind. Instead, it was a battle of position in the final lap that led to Alvarado cross the line first. It came as a form of redemption for Alvarado, who recently lost the overall World Cup title to Worst when a final lap crash took her out of contention.
Behind the leading group, American Katie Compton overcame a slow start to battle her way into 4th. It was a strong ride by the 4-time podium finisher. More importantly, it was a sign to her doubters that even though Compton lost the US National title for the first time in 16 years, that you can never count her out.
Results - Men
1 – Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) 1:08:52
2 – Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) 0:01:20
3 – Toon Aerts (Belgium) 0:01:45
4 – Wout Van Aert (Belgium) 0:02:04
5 – Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) 0:02:32
6 – Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) 0:03:12
7 – Corne Van Kessel (Netherlands) 0:03:52
8 – Tim Merlier (Belgium) 0:04:32
9 – Quinten Hermans (Belgium) 0:04:48
10 – Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) 0:05:11
Results - Women
1 – Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands) 0:45:20
2 – Annemarie Worst (Netherlands) 0:00:01
3 – Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) 0:00:10
4 – Katherine Compton (United States Of America) 0:01:00
5 – Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands) 0:01:26
6 – Evie Richards (Great Britain) 0:01:44
7 – Eva Lechner (Italy) 0:02:25
8 – Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) 0:02:46
9 – Laura Verdonschot (Belgium) 0:02:52
10 – Marlène Petit (France) 0:03:06