Wout Van Aert, also a U23 rider, rallied for Belgium as he chased down Lars van der Haar (Ned) on the final lap out-sprinting him on the final run to the line for the silver as the Dutch rider settled for the bronze.
Canada’s Aaron Schooler from Edmonton, AB, was the top Canuck in 36th followed by fellow Albertan Mark McConnell from Calgary in 42nd with reigning Canadian CX champ Mike Garrigan (Toronto, ON) finishing 49th.
“I’m really happy with how today went for me. I’ve never had a good ride at Worlds before this year even though it’s my 5th appearance at CX Worlds,” Schooler told Pedal. “There are other years when I’ve made the team, but not been able to race due to injury or financial restrictions. It’s really great to be able to finish my season on a high note, and this is definitely a first for me.”
“The start was pretty fast and a bit chaotic with a couple of Americans crashing just after the first corner. I was able to do a good job of avoiding most of the crashes which was sometimes hard to do, but at least in the first half of the race I rode a really flawless race and didn’t bobble or crash once.
“With about 3 laps to go I started noticing my rear tire was feeling a bit weird and right as I rode by the pits on the lower side which was the harder way to enter the pits I realized that I should have pitted that time, but was hoping that it was a slow enough of a flat that I would be able to make it another half lap until the pits before I really needed to change.
“It was a bad call because I think I lost at least 30 seconds on that half lap from having the rear flat. I then pitted and got a new bike but having to ride the flat really took the juice out of my legs an for the remainder of the race I felt like I was struggling with applying the power down. By that time in the race my hands were pretty frozen and my control over the bike for braking and shifting were starting to suffer a bit, so I made a few more mistakes just because of that. Ultimately I came about 5 seconds away from making it on the lead lap which I was pretty bummed about. But still happy with a 36th. It’s my best result in a World Cup or World Championships finish, so it calls for a beer or two!!!” Full interview to follow.
The fast start saw van der Haar get the holeshot with the Belgians just behind. Van Aert took over the lead with Van der Poel as the two got a bit of gap and when the Belgian dropped his chain near the end of the first lap Van der Poel attacked and was alone out front with three Belgians in hot pursuit.
Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) was the strongest in the chase group as Van der Haar dangled behind but soon caught and passed the Belgian trio. Pauwels was 4s behind him with three to go while Van Aert was with Tom Meeusen at 35s. Schooler had moved up to 38th and was leading the Canadian trio.
Van der Poel remained strong even as Van der Haar closed to 7s at one point. Behind Pauwels faded and Van Aert found a second wind as he reeled in Van der Haar on the final lap.
As and emotional Van der Poel soloed in for the win Van Aert caught Van der Haar and was leading when the two rounded the final corner. In a thrilling sprint to the line the Belgian took a well-earned silver over his Dutch rival.
In a post race interview Van der Poel commented. “This was the best decision of my life so far. It was mentally a very hard race but I felt strong. I don’t think I have the confidence to know what it’s going to mean in the next season – but it will be awesome to ride in that jersey.”
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) 1:09:12
2. Wout Van Aert (Belgium) 0:15
3. Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) 0:17
4. Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) 01:06
5. Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) 01:12
6. Tom Meeusen (Belgium) 01:17
7. Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) 02:26
8. Marcel Meisen (Germany) 02:37
9. Philipp Walsleben (Germany) 02:43
10. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) 02:54
11. Julien Taramarcaz (Suitzerland) 02:56
12. Luca Braidot (Italy) 03:13
13. Michael Boros (Czech Republic) 03:19
14. Fabien Canal (France) 03:26
15. Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands) 03:27
16. Simon Zahner (Suitzerland) 03:30
17. Sven Nys (Belgium)
18. Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic) 03:38
19. Rob Peeters (Belgium) 03:56
20. Francis Mourey (France) 03:59
21. Ian Field (Great Britain) 04:00
22. Mariusz Gil (Poland) 04:22
23. Jonathan Page (United States Of America) 04:33
24. Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic) 04:41
25. Marcel Wildhaber (Suitzerland) 04:47
26. Niels Wubben (Netherlands) 04:51
27. Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez (Espin) 04:53
28. Arnaud Grand (Suitzerland) 05:00
29. Matej Lasak (Czech Republic) 05:05
30. Kenneth Hansen (Denmark) 05:21
31. Martin Haring (Slovakia) 05:29
32. Jeremy Powers (United States Of America) 06:18
33. David van der Poel (Netherlands) 06:39
34. Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Espin) 06:40
35. Zach Mcdonald (United States Of America) 07:53
36. Aaron Schooler (Canada) -1 lap
37. Marek Konwa (Poland)
38. Kazuhiro Yamamoto (Japan) -2 laps
39. Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic)
40. Karl Heinz Gollinger (Austria)
41. Jaroslav Chalas (Slovakia)
42. Mark Mcconnell (Canada)
43. Vaclav Metlicka (Slovakia)
44. Paul Redenbach (Australia) -3 laps
45. Yu Takenouchi (Japan)
46. Gabor Fejes (Hungary)
47. Garry Millburn (Australia)
48. Lukas Batora (Slovakia)
49. Mike Garrigan (Canada) -4 laps
50. James Driscoll (United States Of America)
51. Oleksiy Ukhanov (Ukraine)
52. Angus Edmond (New Zealand) -5 laps