On Sunday, Mathieu van der Poel rode to a dominant win at Superprestige-Zonhoven ahead of world champion Wout Van Aert and Lars van der Haar. The Dutch national champion has been untouchable in 2017 because of his sheer power and skill. Van der Poel’s full repertoire was on display in the sand of Zonhoven.
Van der Poel pulled away from the leaders on one the courses sandy sections on the fourth lap making the difference on a technical sand descent. He opened a gap that the chasers struggled to close and eventually pulled away to win by 22 seconds.
While van der Poel has a bag full of tricks he uses to dominate ‘cross races — he’s won nine of the last 10 rounds of the Superprestige Series dating back to last year — his bike handling skills were put to the test in Zonhoven.
— CyclingHub (@CyclingHubTV) October 15, 2017
In one particularly hair raising instant, the 22-year-old blasted down a sand pit descent. He was doing a masterful job of keeping his bike under control when all of a sudden his front wheel slowed as it passed through the dense sand.
It looks like van der Poel is going to loose control of his bike and face-plant. Instead, he manages to shift his weight forward over the front wheel leaving the back wheel to swing around wildly. He steadies his bike leaned fully over the handle bars, leans back to center his weight and once out of the sand manages to get back into the saddle.
Close call, love it 😍 https://t.co/jR94MYXKjc
— Mathieu Van der Poel (@mathieuvdpoel) October 15, 2017
Amazingly, he didn’t even unclip from the pedals. While the hair raising close call could have rattled some riders, van der Poel got right back to business and didn’t show any hesitancy later in the race.