Van der Poel races away on the penultimate lap

Sunday 28 January 2024

Van der Poel races away on the penultimate lap

As in the women’s race, it was the world champion who triumphed in the final round of this season’s World Cup. Mathieu van der Poel raced solo to victory in “his” Hoogerheide. Joris Nieuwenhuis came second, Pim Ronhaar third. 

The men’s race remained locked for a long time. The first laps were completed with a large group in which no one really seemed to want to take the initiative. It was mainly the tyre pressure that occupied the riders. World champion Van der Poel (Alpecin - Deceuninck), for example, went in search of more pressure in his tyres.

At the end of the third lap, we had a group of five riders in the lead. However, Van der Poel, Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) and teammates Ronhaar, Nieuwenhuis and Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) were not able to escape. One lap later, the regrouping was a fact. It was now the moment for Nys to accelerate and Iserbyt also wanted to keep up the pressure.

Another lap later, it was the turn of Ronhaar, teammate of Nys. The Baloise Trek Lions men were taking it in turns to attack. We had to wait until lap six before the world champion made his first appearance at the head of the race. Van der Poel readied himself and took off on the Brabantse Wal. Nys was the only one initially to latch onto him.

Nieuwenhuis was the next to make the crossing and later on the rest of the pack rejoined. On the penultimate lap, Van der Poel thought that his moment had come again, at the same spot. Nys tried once again to go with him, but this time he could not immediately get on the wheel. Nys entered the final lap 8 seconds behind Van der Poel.

A slide by Nys meant that he was caught again by Iserbyt, Ronhaar, Nieuwenhuis, Van der Haar and Wyseure (Crelan - Corendon). Meanwhile, Van der Poel increased his lead to 24 seconds. The proverbial bird had flown. Behind him, the battle was on for the other podium places.  Nieuwenhuis succeeded in springing away from the rest at the finish to end in second place, in front of his teammate Ronhaar.