A Proven Thriller
The DVV series returns on Saturday for the Soudal Hotondcross in Ronse. Ronse is not the most epic course out there, but it has a history of producing fantastic racing. In 2017, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert were locked in a race-long battle trading attack after attack with neither rider able to gain an upper hand. With two laps to go, Lars van der Haar took advantage of the stalemate between the two favorites to ride clear to victory.
Rainy Days In Belgium
Unlike in 2017, Ronse is expected to be quite muddy on Saturday. Rain has been lingering over Belgium all week and is expected to persist throughout Saturday. In the past, the Ronse course has allowed a small group to solidify at the front of the race. The sloppy conditions predicted for this year’s edition however should give way to more fragmented racing.
Mathieu van der Poel will highlight the men’s race in Ronse. He has clear intentions of winning the DVV Trofee overall, but his absence at Koppenbergcross set him back five minutes in the overall standings. Following victories in Hamme and Kortrijk, van der Poel has already clawed back 1 minute and 25 seconds in the eight race series. He sits in fifth place, 3 minutes and 35 seconds behind series leader Eli Iserbyt ahead of Saturday’s race.
Annemarie Worst leads the women’s classification by just six seconds ahead of teammate Yara Kastelijn. Lucinda Brand is the one notable absence from the provisional start list. The winner of Kortrijk will skip Saturday’s race to focus on Overijse the following day.
Ronse does however mark two-time U23 world champion Evie Richards’ European cyclocross season debut. The Trek rider opened her season in America, but has only raced locally in England since. Her European cyclocross campaign will begin in earnest this weekend with both Ronse and Overijse on tap.
Images by Balint Hamvas