Daily News Digest: Sagan returns to winning ways; CX nationals round up

by Neal Rogers

January 15, 2018

In today’s Daily News Digest: Sagan opens season with win at People’s Choice Classic; Spratt takes Santos Women’s Tour GC, Hosking wins final stage; Van der Poel, Van Aert defend respective national CX titles; Cant, Brand, Ferrand-Prevot take national CX titles; Hyde defends US national cyclocross title after duel with Powers; Compton holds off Noble to take 14th consecutive national CX title; 2018 Vuelta a España route details announced; Sky debutant Halvorsen out for TDU after fracture in People’s Choice crash; Kask unveils Utopia, its most aerodynamic road helmet.

Van der Poel, Van Aert defend respective national CX titles

by Neal Rogers

The two top cyclocross racers in the world, Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert, successfully defended their respective national titles Sunday.

Van der Poel, who is European champion, easily beat out Lars van der Haar and older brother David Van der Poel to win this fourth consecutive Dutch national title in Surhuisterveen. The 22-year-old Corendon-Circus rider broke free early and spent almost the entire 60-minute race alone, off the front. Van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) finished second, just as he did in 2017, more than a minute behind. Bronze went to David van der Poel, who also rides for Corendon-Circus.

“It was a long solo and it was especially important to stay as concentrated as possible,” Van der Poel told Sporza. “It went really well today, and I definitely feel that I am right heading into the world championship.”

Mathieu van de Poel won a fourth consecutive Dutch National Championship in Surhuisterveen, the Netherlands.

Van Aert, the world champion, beat Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) in Koksijde to win his third consecutive Belgian national title. Daan Soete finished ahead of his Telenet-Fidea teammate Toon Aerts to take bronze. Sweeck challenged Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) for the first half of the race, but the world champion ultimately won by 40 seconds.

“Sweeck made it very difficult for me,” Van Aert told Sporza. “I started well in the first lap, but then I made a mistake, and I could not get away in any section. I knew I had to keep on believing, because the last 15 minutes are always trickiest of the race. It was a nice fight, luckily I was able to finish it. I have not often seen someone ride through the sand like Laurens, I know he’s a classmaster and he proved it today. He was a little better in the sand, but there are many other sections in the race, and I was able to make the difference.”