Belgian champion Wout van Aert admitted that he was left confused by the ways of rival Mathieu van der Poel which led to the Dutchman’s victory within the elite males’s UCI Cyclocross World Championships on Sunday at Hoogerheide.
Van Aert had predicted that his Dutch nemesis may use his bunny hopping capacity to drive a significant hole within the remaining part of the obstacles earlier than an uphill street dash end. Nonetheless, when the second got here, Van der Poel as a substitute stayed in second place and shocked Van Aert with a late cost to the road, leaving the Belgian no time to muster a response.
“In my thoughts I used to be all the time anticipating to be in second place on the dash due to the location of the obstacles,” mentioned a upset Van Aert after settling for the silver medal. “I used to be centered on that and I used to be a bit confused so I forgot to journey my very own dash.”
Reflecting on shedding the world championship title to his rival as soon as once more, a fourth time in an elite race, Van Aert thought he ought to have launched the dash first after they hit the tarmac on the ultimate stretch to the road.
“If I sprinted straight from the nook possibly Mathieu passes me however I might in all probability have a greater feeling if I had completed it,” added Van Aert.
“I really feel like I may have received the race as we had been within the remaining minute of the race collectively and I nonetheless had my likelihood. He got here from behind getting two bike lengths, I received into his slipstream however couldn’t shut it in time. I had a 48-inch entrance ring on the again, I began altering gears as quickly as Mathieu handed me however I didn’t have sufficient gears.”
Van der Poel launched a number of unsuccessful assaults in an try and drop his rival throughout the race, however Van Aert was in a position to reply every time. The Belgian mentioned he left it to the ultimate dash after being unable to muster an assault of his personal.
“It was a extremely robust race for me; from the primary lap Mathieu put below stress,” added Van Aert.
“The primary half of the race it was troublesome and due to that I didn’t actually really feel like making an attempt one thing. The race was fairly quick so it wouldn’t actually make sense to strive one thing.
“Issues all the time occur for a purpose and I used to be actually on the restrict from the beginning. I believe he was stronger on the finish of the day.”
Within the lead as much as the race, the obstacles had been earmarked as a spot the place Van der Poel may distance his rival. The course and its man-made components had been designed by Adrie van der Poel, a 1996 elite males’s World Champion in ‘cross and father of Mathieu. He added the boards on an uphill part near the end, and had them put in on the most peak restrict of 40 centemetres (16 inches), reasonably than the 35-centemetre peak that’s prevalent in different races throughout the common season.
Nonetheless, on the crucial day to determine the rainbow jersey, Van Aert managed to cancel out any strikes on the barrier part and mentioned that that they had no affect on the ultimate outcome.
“It was similar to in each race, Mathieu jumps a bit sooner as he’s higher at it,” Van Aert added.
Van Aert will now flip his consideration to the street marketing campaign and extra conferences with Van der Poel throughout the early season Classics.
Like Van der Poel, the Belgian will begin his season at Strade Bianche subsequent month, with the pair additionally set to fulfill at Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Van Aert says that solely 4 weeks till his first street race will take his thoughts off ending second on the Cyclocross World Championships.
“I don’t want this for motivation for the street season,” mentioned the Jumbo-Visma rider.
“It’s one good factor that it’s coming actually quick so it will likely be simpler to alter my mindset within the subsequent few days. It’s as anticipated that one can be actually joyful and the man who completed second can be actually upset in order that’s simply how it’s.”