The European season is in full swing as we approach mid-November. This past Thursday, the DVV Trofee finally got going with Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde. On Sunday, the European Championships (UEC) took place in the Netherlands. Because of the long break between the two races, most riders raced both races. Thursday’s race was won by Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout out sprinted Wout van Aert for second. Perhaps the biggest news from Koppenbergcross is that Mathieu van der Poel finished a distant 21st. However, on Sunday, Mathieu van der Poel was back on top as he rode away from Wout van Aert and Laurens Sweeck, who would finish second and third, respectively.
Here’s how this weeks rankings shape up:
- Gianni VermeerschVermeersch is the only rider on this list who skipped Koppenbergcross on Thursday. He picked up a solid 9th place finish at the UEC on Sunday. He continues to be a steady top ten rider, but seems just off the pace of the other riders on this list.
- Dan SoeteA pair of tenth place finishes get Soete back in the rankings. He looked solid both days and was at the front in the early going of both races. Soete continues to impress and is a consistent top ten rider who can occasionally crack the top five.
- Eli IserbytIserbyt returns to the rankings after stellar performances at both races this past week. He was seventh on Thursday, in a notoriously tough race. We often forget how young Iserbyt is. He raced the U23 race at UEC and finished second to Tom Pidcock.
- Quinten HermansHermans has been consistently in the mix all season. He was fifth on Thursday and eighth on Sunday. While he is a consistent top ten finisher, he seems very close to getting on the podium. Only time will tell.
- Laurens SweeckSweeck moves up a few spots after a very impressive performance on Sunday. He was sixth in Koppenbergcross and grabbed the last spot on the podium at the UEC. There has been a lack of consistency in his performances this season, but that seems to be changing.
- Lars van der HaarVan der Haar continues to have a very solid season. While he has only reached the top step of the podium once this season, he is always in the mix. He was fourth on Thursday and sixth in his home nation on Sunday.
- Toon AertsIt was only a matter of time before someone not named Van der Poel would win a race. Aerts followed Wout van Aert from the gun and along with Michael Vanthourenhout, they were able to distance the Dutch sensation. Aerts would go on to win by attacking the leading trio on the final trip up the climb. On Sunday, he finished fifth, just off the podium.
- Michael VanthourenhoutVanthourenhout was able to out “sprint” Wout van Aert up the Koppenberg on Thursday for second place. On Sunday he was just off the podium in fourth place. He has really come on strong over the past few weeks and is now a regular podium contender.
- Wout van AertVan Aert’s new plan is to go out hard and make Mathieu van der Poel chase from the gun. On Thursday it worked as Van der Poel was never able to regain contact with the lead group. Unfortunately, he would get out sprinted up the climb on the last lap and finish third. He attempted the same move on Sunday, but Van der Poel was able to get up to Van Aert and then turn on the jets to win by 15 seconds.
- Mathieu van der PoelFor the first time in what feels like forever, there was a podium without Van der Poel on it. He finished 21st and was never really in the race. But, what some may have seen as a sign of cracking, was quickly erased with a dominant performance on Sunday. Van der Poel remains the European Champion for another year.