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"I had to ride a bloc for a long time. It stayed around 10 seconds which is not reassuring. I could only hold something back in the last two laps."

Photo: UCI Channel

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KEVIN PAUWELS

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MATHIEU VAN DER POEL

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TOM MEEUSEN

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WOUT VAN AERT

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10.12.2016 @ 17:05 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Van Aert won the fourth round of the DVV Trofee. The world champion arrived alone at the finish but Kevin Pauwels turned out to be a tough rival. "I had to go deep,” he said.

 

Van Aert: I had to go deep

After a long solo ride, Van Aert took his third consecutive victory in Essen although it was not easy. 

 

"I had to ride a bloc for a long time. It stayed around 10 seconds which is not reassuring. I could only hold something back in the last two laps,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

 

His biggest rival, Mathieu van der Poel fell away quickly after a puncture. 

 

"I saw that he dropped back a few spots when I accelerated. Only later I heard through the speaker that Mathieu had had a puncture. I rode offensively from the beginning and wanted to accelerate anyway."

 

Again it was not an exciting race but that is not a problem for the world champion.

 

"I do not stay awake. The victory is the most important. It was an exhausting race and I still had to go deep. Hopefully, I can recover well for tomorrow. To rest a lot at the training camp felt great. I will try to do the same at home the next few weeks. The condition is good. "

 

Pauwels: I lost focus because I was on the limit

Kevin Pauwels rode an excellent race and put Van Aert under pressure for a long time, but he had to acknowledge the world champion’s superiority. The decisive moment came after a crash of Pauwels. 

 

"I had to go deep to stay with him. I did not react fast enough when he accelerated. Thus, I just lost focus on the course and I crashed. Luckily I came away unscathed. I went deep, but tomorrow I want to deliver a good performance. "

 

Meeusen: I almost abandoned

The riders had barely taken a single turn before Tom Meeusen had hit the ground.

 

"I wanted to take the holeshot, but Wout was in front of me. I wanted to be ready for the first bars and put my hands on the handlebar. Just at that moment I rode into a hole and I crahed. That was a blow. I almost took the exit to go home. "

 

But the rider of Telenet-Fidea persevered and eventually finished third. 

 

"The support from the fans was great. I kept riding for them. I was lucky that I could catch van der Poel after his puncture. He pulled a little too hard for me, but a little later I was able to get back. I had enormously good legs, but the win was too much. Wout’s lap times were not bad. I am still waiting for my first win here in my hometown.”

 

Van der Poel: The two setbacks were too much

The biggest challenger to Van Aert did the fastest lap in Essen, but quickly had to drop back due to a puncture. 

 

"I was riding fast, but the two setbacks were too much. My chain was blocked and therefore I hit my hip hard. I suffered from that for a long time. From that moment I had a bad day and I thought about tomorrow. Tonight I'll take care of my hip and hopefully I will be recovered for tomorrow. "

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