Sunday’s UCI cyclocross World Cup course in Bogense, Denmark was a real hit providing exciting, technical and stunningly beautiful racing. One particular feature was a steep rutted hill that nobody could ride. One rider however was intent on making it up without dismounting. It shouldn’t be too surprising that Mathieu van der Poel made efforts throughout the race to make it up the hill without dismounting. While his competitors could do nothing to stop the talented 22-year-old from taking his fourth World Cup victory of the season, trying to ride the hill proved to be a bit more tricky.
On early laps all the riders were dismounting early. On the first lap, van der Poel had a good run in into the base of the hill and was the first rider to it it but still opted to dismount mid-way through.
The next lap with Toon Aerts and Wout Van Aert ahead of him, van der Poel dismounted even earlier because of the traffic he needed to contend with.
By lap 3, van der Poel and Aerts had a gap with the World Cup leader having a clean run into the hill and making it about twp-thirds of the way up but riding the entire hill still looked a ways away. Lap four Aerts lead into it and van der Poel dismounted early.
On lap 5 things started getting spicy with van der Poel making what would eventually be the race winning move with a gap and going full gas. His confidence on the hill looked to be building. Lap 6 was also very smooth with a quick and smooth dismount towards the crest of the hill.
It was on the next lap that it appeared van der Poel made the decision that he would ride the hill. Making it nearly to the top, he lost a bit of momentum and needed to put a foot down but for the first time a full dismount wasn’t necessary.
On his second to last attempt van der Poel nails it. With a speedy run-in, he keeps the pedals turning and makes it to the crest. A slight hesitation briefly appearing to un-clip to keep his balance but managing not to put a foot down. Van der Poel had conquered the hill.
After the race, van der Poel posted a video of him riding the steep hill with the caption, “Best moment of today’s race!” The extremely talented Dutchman is undefeated on the World Cup circuit this season and it’s his head strong ability to overcome and master the sport technical sections that makes him such a thrilling rider to watch.
The Bogense venue will host the 2019 UCI world cyclocross championships and you can bet if this feature appears again van der Poel will be the one to watch. After his masterful performance on Sunday there is no feature on a cyclocross course the young phenom isn’t intent on nailing.