Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant took back-to-back wins at this weekend’s men's and women's cyclocross races in Lille and Hoogstraten, Belgium, respectively.
Van der Poel reminded the cycling world how untouchable he is on a good day, taking the hole shot at Krawatencross on Saturday and never looking back.
While the Dutchman stormed to a solo victory in his first race following his third-place finish in Valkenburg last weekend, Wout van Aert had a little less post-Worlds impetus. The world champion settled for eighth place in Lille, over a minute down on van der Poel.
Sunday’s race in Hoogstraten saw a more contested start, which formed a lead group of 10 riders. However, the end result remained the same, as van der Poel attacked on the third lap and powered away to yet another solo victory.
Meanwhile, Cant was put under pressure all weekend by Maud Kaptheijns, but the world champion was not to be denied, as she secured her first two victories in the 2018 rainbow stripes.
Compton: ’Tis A Scratch, Nothing But A Flesh Wound
Every once in a while, fans are reminded of the fact that cyclists are some of the toughest professional athletes on Earth. Case in point: Katie Compton at Krawatencross on Saturday during the final race of her 2017-18 cyclocross season.
Compton lost time on the first lap and was later seen in the pit swapping her right shoe. However, it was not until after the race that the source of her mishap was revealed. Her husband posted a photo on Twitter of Compton’s knee cut to the bone.
Compton raced for 45 minutes with a deep gash to her knee, apparently caused by a disc rotor. Her efforts earned her seventh place on the day and more importantly secured her overall victory in the DVV Trofee series.
And The Consistency Award Goes To...
Late-season cyclocross races are highlighting the riders that have managed to hold onto form throughout the entire grueling season. Maud Kaptheijns and Laurens Sweeck are two riders who have come into their own as the season winds down.
Kaptheijns, 23, won a slew of races at the start of the season, but as the racing intensified leading up to Worlds, podiums became more elusive for the Dutch racer. However, she has proved to be one of the most enduring competitors in the women’s field. She is one of the fastest women off the start line and fell just short of the win both days over the weekend.
Likewise, Sweeck began the season with multiple wins and has been a consistent podium finisher. In a season that has been dominated by one rider, Sweeck is proving that he can put together a strong and consistent season in his own right.
Will he manage to climb further up the podium steps at this weekend’s cyclocross finale?
By Michael Sheehan; Images by Balint Hamvas – Cyclephotos