Mathieu van der Poel skipped the first two rounds of the UCI cyclocross World Cup in the United States of America, but the reigning champ returned to the series’ third event in Bern, Switzerland and took the flowers in warm, dry conditions. Van der Poel recently won the first two races of the Superprestige series after spraining his ankle at Brico Cross Lokeren on October 13. Toon Aerts keeps the World Cup lead by 15-points.

At the green light world champion Wout Van Aert took the hole shot into the left hand turn. Van Aert and Daan Soete pulled out a little gap but van der Poel caught up by the end of the 2.97-km first lap. Aerts, the first two rounds in his pocket, was in eighth place.

Lars van der Haar attempted to bridge over on Lap 2. A large chase group was only six-seconds behind van der Haar. Van der Haar made the junction as the quartet started the third of 11 laps. Toon began to make inroads, moving up the pack. The average speed after two laps was 29-km/h.

On Lap 3, first van der Haar and then Van Aert drifted back, the latter slipping gears. On Lap 4, van der Poel pushed out solo and Van Aert became his closest pursuer, seven-seconds behind going into Lap 5. Eight riders including Soete and Aerts were vying for the final podium position 31-seconds behind.

Van Aert struggled to bring back his Dutch rival. On Lap 8, the man in the World Cup leader’s jersey worked his way into third spot, but he was nabbed by the chase group one more. Once more Aerts skipped away and was able to take a 16-second gap over the rest of the chasers going into Lap 10.

Going into the bell lap van der Poel held a 12-second lead over Van Aert. Aerts’ third place position was solidified.

Van Aert has now been runner-up in all three races.

There were no Canadians or Americans in the field on Sunday.

The next round of the World Cup is November 17 in Tabor, Czech Republic.

2018-2019 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round 3, Bern, Switzerland, Elite Men
1) Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands/Corendon-Circus) 1:04:48
2) Wout Van Aert (Belgium) +0:08
3) Toon Aerts (Belgium/Telenet–Fidea Lions) +0:58

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