Wellens takes Guangxi lead; Van der Poel solos in Koksijde: Daily News Digest

by Neal Rogers

October 23, 2017

Wellens wins Tour of Guangxi queen stage, takes overall lead; Canola makes history with back-to-back wins at Japan Cup races; Van der Poel solos to victory at Koksijde World Cup; Kaptheijns dominates women’s field at Koksijde to take first World Cup win; Wells and Welsford win Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland; Moped drove over Bakelants’ legs after 11 fractured bones at Lombardia; Tour de L’Ardeche winner Lucy Kennedy signs with Orica-Scott; Video: Tacks sprinkled across race course at Tour of Guangxi.

Van der Poel solos to victory at Koksijde World Cup

by Neal Rogers

Sporting athletic tape on his right arm one day after a significant crash at the Niels Albert CX left him with a sore shoulder and wrist, Mathieu van der Poel soloed to victory at the third round of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Koksijde. It was Van der Poel’s first win at the Koksijde World Cup; he finished third in 2015 behind Sven Nys and Wout van Aert, and last year’s race was cancelled due to high winds.

On a cold and gusty day in the coastal Belgian town, Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) took the hole shot off the start line and never looked back. The Dutch rider rode away from world champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) on the second of nine laps, and by the end of the third lap his lead was 20 seconds. After van Aert dealt with mechanical issues late in the race, van der Poel finished 39 seconds ahead of Lars van der Hear (Telenet-Fidea), with van Aert third, 48 seconds back.

“It was something I was looking forward to,” Van der Poel said. “Especially because last year it was cancelled. I really like sand courses. I started ahead of the bunch, I think it’s the best way to be, at the front, you can ride your own lines. But it’s also difficult, you’re always in the sand first, and the tracers are gone then, so sometimes that’s hard. But I really like riding here.”

Van der Poel’s fastest lap came on lap seven of nine, averaging almost 27kph, his lead over Van Aert up to 39 seconds. The following lap, Van Aert had a mechanical issue and lost position; the world champion ultimately rode past the entrance of the mechanical pit and was forced to briefly run against the course direction in order to enter the technical assistance zone to take a bike change. UCI rules allow this, so long as a rider has not ridden past the exit of the mechanical pits.

Van der Poel’s win was his ninth win in 11 starts this season, and his third consecutive World Cup victory from the first three rounds of the nine-race series. No rider has ever won every round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup. Nys came closest, winning eight of 10 races during the 2005-06 season. Swiss mountain biker Nino Schurter became the first rider to sweep the UCI XCO World Cup this season, winning six of six races, with Van der Poel finishing second to Schurter in Albstadt, Germany. British downhill racer Rachel Atherton swept the UCI Downhill World Cup series in 2016.