Mathieu van der Poel has claimed a third European Cyclocross Championship in a row, after taking victory at the 2019 edition in Silvelle, Italy.
The Dutchman beat the Belgian Eli Iserbyt by three seconds, and Iserbyt’s compatriot Laurens Sweeck by 20 seconds.
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The first ever European champion in 2015, Dutchman Lars van der Haar, finished fifth, while 2016’s victor Belgian Toon Aerts came seventh, who was the first rider to finish a minute down on Van der Poel.
The course featured 13 hairpin bends, with Van der Poel responding to every move made by his rivals until the front of the field was reduced to just the 24-year-old and his younger rival Iserbyt.
Van der Poel eventually attacked towards the end of the final seventh lap, edging out Iserbyt by just a few seconds.
Great Britain’s Tom Pidcock finished eighth, 1-10 down on Van der Poel, who was taking part in his first elite men’s European Championship race after winning the U23 edition in 2018 and the Junior race in 2016. He was also the highest placed rider who did not hail from either the Netherlands or Belgium.
Speaking after his victory, Van der Poel took little time to relish his win as he turned his focus toward his big goals for 2020: “It was a difficult course to make a difference. I have some very big goals in 2020 and now I’m a little bit focused and excited for the races on the road and then the Olympics.”