The annual European invasion of America took place this past week with a pair of races in Wisconsin. There was a C1 on Wednesday in Reno, but all of the European riders skipped that race. Instead, they opted to ride the Trek CX Cup C2 on Friday before round one of the World Cup on Sunday. Wout van Aert, Toon Aerts and Lars van der Haar only raced on Sunday. Aerts picked up the win a head of van Aert, which makes their decision to skip Friday’s race a good one. It was a Belgian battle both days with the top eight on Friday and the top nine on Sunday being all Belgian, except for Corne van Kessel.
One last fun fact: Friday’s race was won by Quinten Hermans, with Dan Soete second and van Kessel third. In the World Cup race, Hermans was fourth followed by Soete and van Kessel.
Here’s how this weeks rankings go:
- David van der PoelAfter back-to-back wins in Switzerland, David van der Poel is in our power rankings for the first time. David has had a strong start to the season. The competition and courses in Switzerland are top notch and winning them is no small feat.
- Lars van der HaarSlipping down to number nine is van der Haar. After a strong race last weekend in Belgium, van der Haar finished well back in 18th on Sunday. Jungle Cross is much hillier than the course in Waterloo. The race in Belgium was also very hilly, so hopefully van der Haar can rebound this weekend.
- Tim MerlierMerlier jumps up a few spots after his ninth on Sunday. Like van der Haar, Merlier skipped Friday’s race for some extra rest before Sunday’s big race. Merlier should finish in the top ten again at Jungle Cross.
- Corne van KesselMoving up one spot this week is van Kessel. He finished third on Friday and sixth on Sunday. He looks poised for a top five finish this upcoming weekend. Van Kessel also has the honor of being the top placed Dutch rider and only non Belgian at the front of these races. That fact often goes unnoticed as he rides for the Belgian Telenet Fidea Lions team.
- Laurens SweeckSweeck looked good during both races this past week. He finished fifth on Saturday and landed on the podium in third on Sunday. As with last year, Sweeck hit out early on Sunday before fading a bit. If he can wait a little bit before pushing the pace, he may be able to contend for the victory this weekend in Iowa.
- Daan SoeteSoete maintains the fifth spot after two great results. He was the runner up on Friday and had a solid fifth place finish on Sunday. Soete seems on the cusp of finishing on a World Cup podium. We will see if he can pull it off at Jingle Cross.
- Quinten HermansHermans has been a rider to watch this year. He is a young star on the rise and backed that up this past weekend. He won the C2 race on Friday and was just off the podium in fourth on Sunday.
- Mathieu van der PoelIt’s hard to penalize the most dominant cross rider last season. We still think he has the goods to win once his season starts in October. With that said, his lack of racing right now will settle him into the third spot for the foreseeable future.
- Toon AertsAerts looked very good on Sunday after attacking the lead group and soloing to victory. He was able to hold off a hard charging Wout van Aert. Aerts was simply the best rider out there on Sunday. Therefore, he’s a heavy favorite to repeat at Jingle Cross.
- Wout van AertVan Aert looked strong on Sunday taking the lead several times and putting in some solid efforts. In the end, he was bested by Aerts. With that said, the drama over his departure from his team, lack of sponsorship, mechanic and bikes had to be a distraction. We think he will settle in this week and will be gunning for victory in Iowa.