It was another busy weekend in Europe with six UCI ranked races taking part across the continent. All races were C2 except the Superprestige race in Gieten, which was a C1. The other exception was the Lithuanian National Championships which took place on Sunday. We wanted to provide a Twitter prediction for that race, but couldn’t find a start list (sad face). All eyes were focused on Saturday’s Brico Cross race in Lokeren and Sunday’s Superprestige race in Gieten. Daan Soete picked up his first victory of the season in Lokeren, while Mathieu van der Poel continued his domination on Sunday.
Van der Poel is the clear number one, but here’s how the rest of the rankings shake out:
- Tim MerlierIt wasn’t the best weekend for Merlier. He did not race on Saturday in hopes of a strong performance on Sunday. Unfortunately, he finished a distant 16th. Perhaps it was the course, perhaps it was the legs. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the next few sandy races.
- Gianni VermeerschVermeersch makes his way into the rankings for the first time this season. He has spent most of the season just outside the top ten, but lately he has come into form. He finished fifth on Saturday and tenth on Sunday. It remains to be seen if he can stay a top ten contender, or if he will bounce around a bit.
- Corne van KesselVan Kessle crashed on Saturday in Lokeren, but managed to finish 11th. On Twitter it appeared that he was feeling good, but he did not start Sunday’s Superprestige race. He’s back training and looking to bounce back this weekend.
- David van der PoelWe have been big fans of David van der Poel all season. His season started out strong and he continues to impress. He was eighth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday. Look for him to be a regular top ten contender all season.
- Michael VanthourenhoutVanthourenhout looked strong on Saturday with a fourth place finish. Unfortunately, on Sunday, he was not able to finish the race. It was a hot, tough, sandy course that seemed to catch up with him. He still remains a podium contender at any race he starts.
- Quinten HermansOne of only a few riders who did not race on Saturday, Hermans looked strong on Sunday. Sadly, he was one of nine riders that did not finish the race. We will see if he can land on the podium this weekend.
- Daan SoeteAnother rider we have been super high on is Soete. At one point we claimed he may be the third best Belgian rider. This weekend backed up that claim. After dodging Mathieu van der Poel’s crash, then sneaking by Wout van Aert when he has a flat front tire, Soete was never seen again on Saturday. He seemed to be in a world of his own. Sunday, he followed that up with a sixth place finish.
- Toon AertsAerts looked very strong this weekend on two very different courses. He finished a distant third on both days. He’s obviously a constant podium threat as he has reached the podium in every race he’s started this season. Aerts seems a step behind van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, but we think he can reach the top step again this season.
- Wout van AertAfter Mathieu van der Poel’s nasty crash on Sunday, van Aert looked like he was going to dominate the race. However, he suffered a front flat at the furthest point from the pit. He was able to crawl his way back to the second group, but eventually faded to sixth. On Sunday he put in a great ride, finishing nearly one minute ahead of third place.
- Mathieu van der PoelAfter the crash heard round the cyclocross world on Saturday, van der Poel stormed to victory on Sunday. He attacked van Aert on the second lap in the final uphill sand section and was never seen again. Van der Poel finished 30 seconds a head of van Aert, who put in a very strong chase. Right now, van der Poel is simply the best.