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by Mark Zalewski
December 27, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert extends World Cup lead with dominant win at Heusden-Zolder; Vos continues comeback with World Cup win at Heusden-Zolder; British Cycling announces funding cuts; Froome discusses 2017 race plan; Quintana confirms Giro, Tour double; Movistar extends with Soler, Sütterlin; Van der Haar makes return at Heusden-Zolder; Van der Poel changes a shoe faster than many change a bike; Carol of the Spokes.
Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) answered critics today at Heusden-Zolder with a dominant win on a fast course, riding away from the field nearly from the gun, and later putting close to ten seconds a lap on his chasers in the second half of the race.
“For sure it’s not an easy race but I had a big advantage after the first part of the race, so I was able to set my own pace on the technical sections,” van Aert said. “It’s nice to win in this kind of race with a long solo attack. I didn’t see what problems Mathieu had but I saw he didn’t have a good start. After the start I went very fast to be alone in the lead and was not looking back.”
Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) had an impressive race as well, attacking on the penultimate lap to finish second. The sprint of the day was Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games), with Pauwels leading onto the race track finish straight and opening the sprint first. But Pauwels held the European champ’s wheel and just nipped him on the line for the final podium spot.
The previously dominant Mathieu Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) had a day to roget, with a slow start that put him in the second group early on. Later, he had an issue with his shoe that forced a shoe change in the pit. Finally, on the last lap he was seen only walking parts of the course, knowing his day was not going to get any better. He settled for 14th.
Lars Boom (Astana) made his return to top level racing in his first World Cup race of the year, finishing a strong 11th.