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26.12.2016 @ 21:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout van Aert has back as a winner after four consecutive second places. The world champion delivered a one-man show at the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder, leading the race from start to finish and ending the race with and advantage of a minute over runner-up Laurens Sweeck. Kevin Pauwels won the sprint for third place ahead of European champion Toon Aerts. Mathieu van der Poel who had problems with his cleat and a puncture, was beaten for the first time in five races. The Dutchman could only manage fourteenth. Lars Boom was eleventh in his comeback.

We have gathered a few reactions.


Van Aert: A one-hour time trial is very difficult

Wout van Aert looked back upon crossing the finish line. "It felt great to win again," the world champion told Sporza.


"It's good to have a small show, Van Aert said abou his victory gesture. "I don't do a show first and then claim it to be by accident," he added, clearly referring to Mathieu van der Poel's jump after dropping Van Aert at the race in Diegem last Friday.


Had Van Aert carried out his plan? "In the last races, I was always beaten in the final lap and I didn't want to let that happen today.


"I wanted to throw my cards on the table quickly  but it was not meant to be so fast. When I saw that Mathieu had not started well, it was the signal to make it difficult. But a time trial of an hour was enormously difficult. "


Boom: I have shown that I can still do cyclo-cross at a high level

After his flop in Heusden-Zolder last year, Lars Boom did much better in 2006. With an eleventh place 2.28 behind Wout van Aert, he ws close to the top 10. "I am very happy with it," the Dutchman told Het Nieuwsblad afterwards. "The feeling is much better than last year."


Boom had a good start and moved from the last rows straight to the eighth, ninth position."It was good that it happened so fast," he said. "Last year I also did pretty well, but then it didn't work out for another metre. Now I started quickly. I had asked some guys to stay a little to the left for me," he laughed.


Boom rode amazingly well and for a time he was even in a group that rode for fourth and fifth. In the end, he missed something in his first race at this level. 


"I had planned to start well and then just to see where I was. I wanted to try to keep that position lap after lap," he indicated. "That worked for a long time, but then at a certain point I realized that I am still missing some technical skills compared to those other guys that ride so many races. They got a few meters on me in technical sections and curves, and I lost some places in the end."


The conclusion was very positive. 


"This is a real boost. I have shown that I can still ride cross," he said. "I am very happy and now I can build further on this. My prologue can only improve from this and I also have ambitions in cross. My next race is Surhuisterveen and the Nationals follow. I really hope that I can go to the Worlds. I know that the spots are difficult to get - there are only six - and I do understand that some riders who ride all year, want to be there, but today I was in contention for 4th and 5th. The other Dutchmen don't do that  so I really hope to get selected. If I can be top 16 in another World Cup, I'm basically selectable (for this purpose he has two chances in Fiuggi and Hoogerheide, ed.)."


Van der Poel: I will remember who destroyed my race

Mathieu Van der Poel had a lot of bad luck during the World Cup race in Heusden-Zolder. He got stuck in a bend and was also forced to change shoes. However, he blames another rider for the loss.  "I will not name names, but I know who it was and I will remember it," Van der Poel told Sporza about the first incident.


"I certainly did not have a great day today," the Dutchman admitted. "And I did not feel 100 percent, perhaps because of my cold. But because of bad luck, I have lost a podium. It started at the beginning. In the bend, I hit the barriers. I could still follow, but moments later it happened again. And if that was not enough, I broke  my shoe at the end of the opening lap. It was again a stupid maneuver by another rider."


For a long time, Van der Poel rode with a broken shoe. 


"Therefore I could not develop my normal strength. And I could not change until the third lap when my spare shoes were available in the pit. Why I remained calm when I change? Well, the damage was already done."


Again, the Dutchman had to start to catch up and eventually he ended up in a group that fought for third. 


"I tried to drop the others. That did not work and I focxued on the last half lap. The third place was still possible until I had a front wheel puncture. That happened in the long descent, I think, and I knew it was over.  In such a difficult and technical section, it was no use to try. It was really a shame because I still wanted to be on the podium."



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