Wout van Aert wins solo in Dendermonde
Sunday 26 December 2021
The Dendermonde round of the UCI World Cup was right up Wout van Aert's street. Mathieu van der Poel and Toon Aerts put up a good fight for four laps, but halfway through the race, the Belgian champion showed himself to be the strongest. He rode solo to victory while Van der Poel finished second on his return.
Dendermonde was the scene for the long-awaited return of world champion Mathieu van der Poel. Despite his unfavourable starting position, the Dutchman shot off like a rocket. However, it was Toon Aerts who had the best start. Thanks to his impressive acceleration, he already had a five-second lead on his opponents halfway through the first lap. Van der Poel didn't want to just let that happen and rode right up to Aerts' wheel.
At the start of the second lap, Aerts once again left Van der Poel behind. Wout van Aert was still trying to get the right rhythm during the opening lap, but he caught up with his Dutch rival not much later. At the end of the second lap, they were exactly even at the front. It was clear that it would be Aerts, Van Aert and Van der Poel who would fight it out for victory.
Belgian champion Van Aert was gaining steam and putting pressure on his opponents. Half a lap later, he had gained an eight-second lead. The race seemed over, but everything was up for grabs after the next lap.
Van Aert was clearly in his element in Dendermonde and accelerated a second time in the fifth lap. World champion Van der Poel pushed on, but he had to fold in the end, too. In the final three laps, Van Aert increased his lead over Van der Poel to 49 seconds. The Belgian champion crossed the finish line on his own. Van der Poel and Aerts joined him on the podium. Eli Iserbyt finished ninth, but remains the leader in the classification.