With the cyclocross World Championships coming up on Sunday, we look at the Stevens bike of one of the leading contenders

2015 World Cyclocross Champion Mathieu van der Poel will be looking to reclaim the title from Wout van Aert at the 2017 championships in Luxembourg on Sunday. We photographed his Stevens bike with its bespoke paintwork at the Zilvermeercross in Mol at the beginning of December 2016.

Van der Poel is on a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset

With Shimano a sponsor of van der Poel’s Beobank-Coredon team, he is running a Dura-Ace Di2 R9000 groupset. On a relatively flat course at Mol, there’s a 46/39 chainset coupled to a close ratio 11-25 cassette. Shimano doesn’t yet offer a 46/36 in its newer R9150 groupset, so van der Poel is using the older R9000.

Rear mech wire is routed through the bottom of the seatstay, reducing the risk of disconnection in a race.

Seatpost and Turnix saddle come from Shimano’s Pro brand, while there’s a Pro Stealth Evo single piece bar-stem. The bike’s BMW roundels on the fork crown and rev counter decal on the top tube reference that company’s M series high-performance cars – and van der Poel’s first name. His other bikes are a more standard black and white.

Van der Poel’s Shimano pedals are marked prototype. We’ve seen similar pedals on Sven Nys’s bike last year.

Like the majority of pro riders, van der Poel is running hydraulic disc brakes this season, using 14cm rotors front and rear at Mol. The rest of his components also come from Shimano, with his wheels shod with the cyclocross racer’s favourite Dugast tubular tyres – in this case a file tread for the sandy course.

>>> Disc brakes: everything you need to know

Van der Poel gets a rev counter decal on his top tube along with the coat of arms of Hamburg, where Stevens is based

Van der Poel won the race in Mol with van Aert second – he’ll be hoping for the same result at the World Championships.

>>> Cyclocross season builds towards grand finale

What they say: Mathieu van der Poel

“Since I’ve been riding a bike, disc brakes is the best innovation together with the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting.  It shifts really fast and, in cyclocross, you often have frozen hands and haven’t got the power to shift, but with Di2 you just have to push a little bit and it shifts, even when you have to shift from the small to the big chainring.

Mathieu Van der Poel won the 2016 Superprestige Gavere cyclocross race in November

“Style motivates me as well.  I’m always thinking about style because I believe it’s really an important part of cycling.  The team is always motivating me by doing such things.  They know it can trigger me to dig deeper in the race.”

Photos: Jack Chevell/Watson