Mathieu van der Poel impresses in Antwerpen
Sunday 04 December 2022
Mathieu van der Poel was on form with an impressive solo in Antwerpen. The Dutch rider attacked on the second lap and triumphed with a solo win. Wout van Aert finished second on his return to the field.
The ‘Big Three’ may not have been on the front row at the start, but it didn’t take long for them to appear at the front of the race. Wout van Aert launched into the field first, with Mathieu van der Poel following a few places behind. Tom Pidcock fared less well. After a disappointing start, the world champion didn’t manage to return to the front at any point.
Belgian champion Van Aert took the lead in the first lap and immediately maintained a fast pace. He crossed the finish line for the first time together with Mathieu van der Poel and Lars van der Haar. Laurens Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout followed a few seconds later. Van der Poel was clearly not impressed by the Belgian champion’s solid start. At the beginning of the second lap, the Dutchman pulled away firmly.
The competition had no immediate answer to Van der Poel’s vigorous acceleration. Van Aert initially took the initiative in the chase, but the Dutchman steadily increased the gap. At the end of the second lap, Van Aert and Michael Vanthourenhout were twelve seconds behind the leader. Laurens Sweeck and Lars van der Haar were eighteen seconds behind.
After an excellent passage through the sand, Wout van Aert managed to break away from Michael Vanthourenhout. The Jumbo-Visma rider briefly got closer to Van der Poel, but it wasn’t to last. Van der Poel became aware and increased the gap. Van Aert, meanwhile, comfortably rode in second place. A fall over the barriers no longer jeopardized that result. The Belgian champion finished 23 seconds behind Van der Poel on his return. Sweeck briefly threatened Michael Vanthourenhout’s third place, but it was ultimately the latter who got to join the podium. Laurens Sweeck finished fourth, but retains his lead in the standings.