As the season winds down, the DVV Trofee and Superprestige series are back for the final few rounds. This week, we discuss Wout van Aert’s win in Lille (along with a DVV wrap up) as well as the cancelation of the penultimate round of the Superprestige series. We continue our Superprestige coverage with a quick overview of where things stand heading into the final round. Then we touch on Manon Bakker being fired from her team. FInally, we have a few housekeeping notes as the season winds down.
Wout van Aert returns to victory in Lille.
The final round of the DVV Trofee took place in Lille, Belgium with Krawatencross. With the overalls wrapped up, it was more about the racing and seeing who has some post-Worlds form. In the men’s race, all eyes were on the Belgian’s as Mathieu van der Poel ended his season after winning his third world title. Series leader, Elit Iserbyt, seems to have lost a step coming into the final weekends of the season. With his title wrapped up, he finished an anonymous 11th.
At the pointy end of the race, a large lead group ebbed and flowed including Wout van Aert, Toon Aerts, Laurens Sweeck and Tom Pidcock. Quinten Hermans, who has had a stellar season thus far was able to get away and looked super strong. Eventually, van Aert would leave the rest behind as he passed Hermans enroute to his first victory since winning the World Cup round in Pont-Chteau over a year ago. In fact, it has been 384 days between wins. Hermans held on for a solid second place finish, while Aerts beat Sweeck to the line for third.
In the overall, Iserbyt finished first, Michael Vanthourenhout was second, and Mathieu van der Poel was third.
|1||Eli Iserbyt (BEL)||8:09:30|
|2||Michael Vanthourenhout (BEL)||5:19|
|3||Mathieu van der Poel (NED)||7:43|
As with the men, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado had a sizable lead over Annemarie Worst in the overall, so the focus was on the race itself. The newly crowned World Champion out-sprinted Worst for the victory in Lille. Junior World Champion, Shirin van Anrooij finished third to complete the Dutch sweep of the podium. The Dutch took six out of the top-ten places. The race itself was incredibly close with the top-ten separated by just over a minute.
As we mentioned, Alvarado takes home the overall with Worst in second and Yara Kastelijn took home third. It was one of the many Dutch sweeps we’ve seen this year.
|1||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED)||5:44:43|
|2||Annemarie Worst (NED)||2:16|
|3||Yara Kastelijn (NED)||11:51|
Niels Vandeputte picked up his third win in the DVV Trofee this season in Lille. The Belgian beat his teammate, Antoine Benoist, by a mere five seconds. World Champion, Ryan Kamp came across the line in third, nearly a minute later. While the overall was relatively tight, Timo Kielich kept his lead despite finishing nearly two minutes down. Kielich didn’t win a single round of the series, but landed on the podium five times. Vandeputte trailed Yentl Bekaert by over five minutes heading into Saturday’s race. He was able to cut that gap in half, but Bekaert held on for second overall.
|1||Timo Kielich (BEL)||6:56:44|
|2||Yentl Bekaert (BEL)||1:26|
|3||Niels Vandeputte (BEL)||2:45|
Winds cancel the penultimate round of the Superprestige series in Merksplas.
Riders will have to wait another year to tackle the Merksplas course due to incredibly high winds as a storm rolled through Northern Europe. Despite the promoters best efforts, including moving race times, they had to cancel the race for safety reasons. This race has been held for over a decade, but has never been part of the Superprestige series. Merksplas was added this year as the Hoogstraten race has disappeared. The last major race to be canceled was the Koksijde round of the World Cup in 2016. That race was also canceled due to high winds.
The biggest impact this race has is on the incredibly tight Superprestige overall. Both the Elite Men and Women’s categories, as well as the Junior Men, have the top two places separated by five or less points. With one less round, it leaves only one opportunity to shake things up. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, who leads both the Elite and U23 Women’s categories, even commented on this by saying the bright side is it’s one less round for her to defend her lead.
Saturday’s showdown in Middelkerke will decide the Superprestige overall.
As we mentioned, the loss of the penultimate round of the Superprestige series, puts all eyes on the final round in Middlekerke. Laurens Sweeck leads the Elite Men’s overall by one point over Eli Iserbyt. Despite being teammates, the two have had a contentious relationship this year and will undoubtedly fight it out. Despite a terrible race in Ruddervoorde, Lars van der Haar sits third overall, five points behind Sweeck. However, van der Haar is only one point ahead of Quinten Hermans. Behind Hermans things are very tight, leaving roughly four riders to battle it out for third overall. We will have our predictions later this week, but it would appear that whomever crosses the line first between Iserbyt and Sweeck will take the overall.
We once again will focus on the Dutch women as they occupy the top three spots in the overall. The point spread for the Superprestige series is incredibly tight. Each place is only separated by one point (1st place gets 15, 2nd 14, 3rd 13, etc.). As a result, as long as Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado stays close to Yara Kestelijn, she should take the overall. Kastelijn sits second overall, five points back. Annemarie Worst is mathematically out of taking the overall, but should maintain her third place on Saturday. Italy’s Maria Arzuffi trails her by three points, but Worst is having the best season of her career.
The top three riders in the Junior Men’s overall are relatively safe in terms of staying in the top three. However, the Thibau Nys leads Lennert Belmans by a mere three points. Ward Hybus is 15 points behind Nys and is mathematically capable of tying Nys on points. The tiebreaker is the final result in Middelkerke, so he would take the overall. However, it is more likely that Hybus will remain third overall.
While there are classifications for the U23 Men and Women, they are scored as a subset of their results in the Elite races. Both categories overall will not change on Saturday.
Manon Bakker Fired From Experza Cx Pro Team
Perhaps the most interesting news following the World Championships was Manon Bakker being fired from her team. The Dutch rider finished fifth in the U23 Women’s race at Worlds. In addition, she sits fifth overall in the U23 Superprestige category and is tenth overall in the Elite Women’s category in both the Superprestige and World Cup. Needless to say, she is a very strong rider and has had an amazing season.
However, Bakker rode the World Championships with wheels and tires that are not sponsors of her team. Her team is sponsored by, and rides, Miche SWR CX tubular wheels and Challenge tires. At Worlds, Bakker opted for DT Swiss RC 38T wheels and Dugast Typhoon tubulars. Her team manager made it very clear that she did not request permission before Worlds, nor did she say anything to the team afterwards. As one can imagine, not riding sponsors equipment in the biggest race of the year made a lot of people unhappy.
Bakker will finish out her season in an all black kit and will surely be picked up by someone for next season.
Missing predictions and housekeeping
While we have fallen behind on a lot of things including our Battle of the Brothers, Predictions Wrap Up and a North American review, the one thing we stay on top of are our predictions. We had our predictions for Merkplas all set only to find out the race was canceled. So, we apologize for missing our first weekend predictions of the season. To make it up we will predict both races this weekend.
Back to the housekeeping, we are going to be publishing a lot of content over the next few weeks. While the season is almost over, we will most likely continue to do wrap ups and other things well into March. As a cyclocross focused website, we will take some time off this spring and summer. Occasionally we’ll chime in if something peaks our interest. For now, we will continue to publish interesting commentary, predictions and a mix of fun content.