A dream scenario, a sensational suspense and a duel definitely in the legend.
The Cyclo-cross Worlds experienced what everyone hoped for this Sunday.
Often, the promises make pschitt when they spread out for weeks on the front page of the newspapers.
Some may find it frustrating to watch the story slip away.
Others, conversely, are delighted that a troublemaker comes to break the mood.
The crowd of Hoogerheide (Netherlands) did not have the right to this outcome.
Everything went as planned and, frankly, so much the better.
The 50,000 lucky people gathered along the route saw two races for the price of one.
That of Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, and that of the 38 other convicts, relegated to a now well-tested anonymity.
Three minutes is the time it took the duo to escape alone to their destiny.
From there, it was only for those two velocity monsters.
The circuit, fast, rolling and dry, made it possible to show off their exceptional qualities.
We hardly dare to imagine how for almost an hour the Dutchman and the Belgian had no other focus than the few centimeters in advance or delay that they exchanged.
Over the towers swallowed and planks crushed, did they say that their fight, which has now lasted ten years on the international scene, had probably never been so bestial and indecisive?
Without a doubt.
Van der Poel in fairness
Since there must be a finish line, the decision was made precisely at this fateful place.
Mathieu Van der Poel seemed more in shape, more inhabited.
And that was confirmed in the last 200 meters.
The Dutchman won a fifth world crown in a supersonic sprint (compared to three for his great rival).
Mathieu van der Poel is 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐌𝐏𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐃𝐔 𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐃𝐄!
At the end of an exceptional race and a mythical duel, the Dutchman wins ahead of Wout van Aert and wins his fifth world title!
– Eurosport France (@Eurosport_FR) February 5, 2023
“It's completely unbelievable.
It is in the three most beautiful victories of my life, I will always remember it.
I felt relaxed in this last lap, it was probably the key to winning.
I knew the sprint would be hard but I did it,” said MVDP, whose preparation had been disrupted by back pain.
The third, or rather the first of the mortals, is called the Belgian Eli Iserbyt, who finally arrived twelve seconds later.
And he too deserves a big thumbs up for his “victory”.