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"And I am sorry that I am happy with this win. I hope the best for Mathieu van der Poel and think that I have made that pretty clear."

CYCLO-CROSS

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KEVIN PAUWELS

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NEWS

TOM MEEUSEN

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

WOUT VAN AERT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
29.12.2016 @ 17:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout van Aert won the Azencross in Loenhout. Tom Meeusen finished second and Kevin Pauwels completed the podium. Mathieu van der Poel crashed heavily in the penultimate lap and was unable to continue. He was removed from the course on a stretcher.

 
We have gathered a few reactions.
 
Van Aert: It's okay for me to be pleased with this win

Wout van Aert picked up his twelfth win of the season in Loenhout, but the talk afterwards was focused on Mathieu van der Poel’s crash. "I hope his injury is not too bad," the world champion told Het Nieuwsblad in a first reaction. "But  I am glad I won." A supporter on Twitter found the latter statement inappropriate, but Van Aert didn’t accept that stance.

 

Asked for a reaction after the finish, Van Aert first talked about the race and then he focused mostly on the crash.

 

"The crash looked really painful and in the next lap he was still there. I hope that it’s not too bad. It won’t be good for our sport if he needs a long break. I think he took too much risk to pass Meeusen. That's his style of riding. It also gives him a lot to be so aggressive and enthusiastic. Today he saw the flip side of the coin, and he crashed hard. That's bad luck. I think he was just a little too eager to try to pass Tom in that section. We also had to close the gap. It's a shame for him, but I hope his injury is not too bad."

 

Nevertheless, a supporter found it inappropriate that he made it clear that he was pleased with the victory. “Strange. First reaction from Wout van Aert to Sporza after Azencross and heavy crash of Mathieu van der Poel: I am glad that I won. #inappropriate,” Theo Sikkema tweeted.

 

Van Aert quickly responded. "I especially want to react to #ongepast. We riders know how vulnerable we are and I don’t like to see a colleague crash. And I am sorry that I am happy with this win. I hope the best for Mathieu van der Poel and think that I have made that pretty clear,” he tweeted.

 

Stybar: I enjoyed it

Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) made a brief return to cyclo-cross in Loenhout. He started at the back but moved very quickly to seventh position. Eventually he dropped back to 18th place in the end. "It was fun," he told Het Niewsblad. "The result is not super good, but also not really bad and I mainly enjoyed it. That is the most important."

 

"In the first lap I quickly went to the front," he said. "There was an opening and I took it. At the front, they went very fast. I was a little excited and I knew I would pay for that effort afterwards. For now, my body is not prepared to go so deep for an hour. It is still December and I am not at my best yet. Moreover, I had only ridden my new bike three times. That’s probably why I crashed in the second lap so I fell further back."

 

The Czech will only ride two races this season, today and on Friday in Bredene. "I enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of the good old days. I felt a lot of support from the fans. My career started in the field. It felt a little like a homecoming here.”

 

Stybar will start in Bredene, but then his cross season is over. Does this race make him want more? "If I ever want to return, I have a lot of work to do," he concluded. "And I do not think about the Worlds. In 2014, I had six races in the legs, now I will have done two. I do not think that I can do much at the Worlds.”

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