Mathieu van der Poel beaten in cyclocross race for first time after 408-day streak

The last time Van der Poel failed to win a cyclocross race was at Koppenbergcross in 2018

Mathieu van der Poel (David Stockman/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel was beaten in a cyclocross race for the first time in 408 days as Belgian Toon Aerts took the victory at the Hotondcross in the city of Ronse, Belgium.

The last defeat Van der Poel suffered in a cyclocross race was back in 2018, at the Koppenbergcross, and in between these two defeats the young Dutchman has announced himself on the road with a series of impressive victories.

Conditions were wet at the Hotondcross and with slow mud passages and hilly sections the course was heavier than riders have grown accustomed to. This suited Aerts, who attacked numerous times on the course to try and distance Van der Poel, who had just returned from a two-week training camp in Spain, but the world champion managed to hang on for now.

Aerts persisted however and eventually started pulling away. The 25-second gap he had taken out momentarily was brought back in to 15 seconds as Van der Poel appeared to have found a second wind, but the Belgian champion eventually rode across the line a minute and a half ahead of his compatriot Eli Iserbyt.

>>> Full-on training, full-time work: How four amateurs stay competitive around their day jobs

Van der Poel finished a minute later in third and in his post-race interview admitted he "was not good enough".

“I always go for the win, but you can't win them all. Toon Aerts was very strong today. He always shows up very well on this kind of course," Van der Poel told Wielerflits (opens in new tab).

He blames his training camp, a necessary requirement as he looks towards a road season where he is expected to build on his 2019 Amstel Gold Race victory, as the reason he was unable to take the win in Ronse.

"Normally I always have to compete with him when we are both in good shape but after a training camp I always have to wait to have the legs for cyclocross. It wasn't bad either. I have come back worse from a training camp, but sometimes better," Van der Poel said.

Hotondcross 2019 (David Stockman/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)


Hotondcross 2019, Ronse

1. Toon Aerts (Bel), Telenet-Baloise

2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, at 1-29

3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus), at 2-31

4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, at 2-17

5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Creafin-Fristads, at 2-27

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.