Wout van Aert claims most dominant cyclo-cross win of the season at X20 Trofee Koksijde

The Belgian mastered the sand ruts to beat Mathieu van der Poel by over a minute and a half

Wout van Aert celebrates in Koksijde
(Image credit: Getty)

Through the deep sand in Koksijde, two-time world champion Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) powered to his most commanding cyclo-cross victory of the season at this afternoon X20 Trofee event, winning by over a minute and a half ahead of his long-term rival Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck). 

The Belgian national champion broke clear at the midway point of the eight-lap race, before drawing out his advantage beneath the Flemish rain clouds. As he crossed the line, the 28-year-old dealt an uppercut to the air, marking the sixth victory of his impressive season. 

Speaking after the race, Van Aert said: “It’s always nice to win like this, especially because I felt really strong today and I was really eager to take this win.”

The Jumbo-Visma rider’s winning margin of 1-38 was his largest this campaign, almost doubling the 56-second gap he won by in Mol before Christmas. 

Van Aert continued: “In the second half of the race I showed my form is really good, so I could really recover in between the sand sections and avoid too many mistakes.” 

It was the 28-year-old’s compatriot, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads), who got off to the best start in Koksijde. The Belgian formed a trio at the front of the race with Van Aert and Van der Poel, with all three battling for position in the course’s famous sand ruts.

On lap four, Van Aert made his move on a punchy incline. By the end of lap five, his lead had stretched to almost a minute. 

Behind, Van der Poel appeared to be in difficulty as the attrition of the sand took its toll. With his rival invisible in the distance, the Dutchman took a moment to stand on his pedals and stretch out his back, reminding onlookers of the ongoing injury that put him out of last year’s World Championships

The countdown to this year’s Worlds now stands at one month, with the event scheduled for 4 February in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

Shirin van Anrooij wins X20 Koksijde

(Image credit: Getty)

Having led from the first lap in the women's race, 20-year-old Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) brought her tally to five wins this season. 

The Dutchwoman, who like Van Aert won on the similarly sandy Mol course last month, pulled away from the race favourites after the first turn and rode faultlessly for the remaining five laps. 

Van Anrooij's advantage was clawed back at times by European champion Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma), but the Baloise Trek Lions rider remained focused through the ruts to win by 14 seconds. 

Former world champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) crossed the line in third, 1-09 down on the race winner. 

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.