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Van der Poel made it two in a row as he came out on top in a three-rider battle at the World Cup race in Heusden-Zolder, with Pauwels and van der Haar completing the podium; Van Aert could only manage 8th but extended his overall lead

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KEVIN PAUWELS

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LARS VAN DER HAAR

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MATHIEU VAN DER POEL

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WORLD CUP - CROSS

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26.12.2015 @ 22:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) on Saturday won the traditional cyclo-cross race in Heusden-Zolder which is the fifth round of the World Cup. In the area around the motorracing circuit in the Dutch city, the world champion came out on top in a dress rehearsal for the Worlds next month, beating Kevin Pauwels and his compatriot Lars van der Haar into the minor podium position. Wout Van Aert had to settle for eighth place, Sven Nys was tenth. For Van der Poel, it is two out of two in the World Cup after he won last weekend's race on the Citadel in Namur. Van Aert still leads the overall World Cup standings ahead of van der Haar and Nys.

 

All eyes were on Lars Boom who made his return to cyclocr-cross after three years. He hoped for a place in the top ten, but that would not be easy. After all, the Astana rider had to start from behind.


It was Frenchman Clément Venturini who got the best start on the motor circuit, along with Tim Merlier. Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout also started the race well. They were followed be a group with Mathieu van der Poel, Tom Meeusen and Wout van Aert while Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels were even further back,

 

It was the world champion who closed the chap and after one lap, a big group of riders had gathered - without Lars Boom who crossed the line in 27th position and was off to a rough day during which he lost time lap after lap. The Dutchman would finish last, more than seven minutes behind the winner.

 

Up front it was Van der Haar, twice winner in Heusden-Zolder, who first accelerated and got away. Van der Poel saw the danger and joined him. Behind them, there was some hesitation in a group with Pauwels, Meeusen, Venturini, Merlier and Vantornout. They crossed the finish line 12 seconds behind the leaders and it was eventually Pauwels who bridged the gap alone. Van Aert and Nys both had a bad day and would never come to the fore. 


Pauwels did not get much time to catch his breath. Especially Van der Haar was eager and accelerated again. The rider from Sunweb-Napoleon Games lost contact but would rejoind his rivals. Van der Poel tried in the penultimate lap and quickly got an advantage of five seconds but in the last lap van der Haar got back. However, a puncture for the latter allowed van der Poel to easily ride away with the victory. Pauwels finished second, Van der Haar third.

 

Van Aert had to settle for eighth place. He lost precious points in the overall standings but he is still in the lead with 336 points -16 more than Van der Haar. Nys who was tenth in Heusden-Zolder, retains his third place with 303 points.

 

The sixth World Cup race of the season will be held on January 17 in the French city of Lignières. One week later, the final round will take place in the Dutch city of Hoogerheide.

 

Result:

1. Mathieu van der Poel 1.09.03

2. Kevin Pauwels +0.02

3. Lars van der Haar +0.46

4. Tom Meeusen +1.10

5. Klaas Vantornout +1.11

6. Clement Venturini +1.17

7. Tim Merlier +1.20

8. Wout Van Aert

9. Corne van Kessel 

10. Sven Nys +1.21

 

Overall standings:

1. Wout Van Aert 336

2. Lars van der Haar 320

3. Sven Nys 303

4. Kevin Pauwels 296

5. Mathieu van der Poel 225

6. Laurens Sweeck 221

7. Tom Meeusen 211

8. Julien Taramarcaz 211

9. Toon Aerts 194

10. Klaas Vantornout 191

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