Mathieu van der Poel clinches victory in Cyclo-cross World Championship

Mathieu van der Poel clinches victory in Cyclo-cross World Championship
Dutch Mathieu Van Der Poel celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the Men Elite race at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships, in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands on Sunday 05 February 2023. Credit: BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel has won in an agonising duel with Belgian cyclist Wout van Aert to clinch victory in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship in Hoogerheide, near the Dutch border with Belgium. This is the fifth time that Van der Poel has taken home the gold. Belgian Eli Iserbyt took home bronze.

Cyclo-cross is a form of bicycle racing, typically practised in winter, which consists of many short laps futuring difficult terrain. Competitors ride on road bikes and are often forced to get on and off them to overcome obstacles.

Van der Poel was neck and neck with his Belgian rival Van Aert until the final minutes of the competition. Van Aert, despite a merciless sprint, was unable to shake his Dutch competitor at the end of the race.

In the final lap, Van der Poel clinched victory at the final moment after a vigorous back and forth between the two riders. During one of the last bends, Van der Poel managed to overtake his opponent to claim victory.

Aged 28, Van der Poel already won the competition in 2015, 2019, 2020, and 2021. He succeeds British cyclist Tom Pidcock, who was absent this year.

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In total, Belgium finished the competition with six medals. On Friday, the mixed relay team won bronze. Belgian Thibau Nys won the solo men’s U23 on Saturday and Witse Meeusen took bronze. On Sunday, Yordi Corsus took the bronze medal in the junior men's category.

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