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Cant and van der Poel take top honours in Zeven World Cup

A fantastic comeback marks van der Poel's second consecutive Cup triumph

Belgian Sanne Cant seized her first UCI Cyclocross World Cup victory of the season Saturday in Zeven, Germany. In the men’s race, Mathieu van der Poel mounted the kind of marvelous comeback that characterized rival Wout van Aert’s wins in the first two events in the USA to take his second World Cup triumph in a row. It was the fourth round of the World Cup, but was supposed to be the fifth, last weekend’s Koksijde round being cancelled because of extreme winds.
In the women’s race, World Cup leader Sophie de Boer (The Netherlands) took the hole shot and was first through the sand.

De Boer and World Champion Thalita de Jong (The Netherlands) pulled away from the others when last year’s World Cup winner Cant made an error that slowed the pack. On the second of six laps the front regrouped into a pack of seven. De Boer and Cant rode through the sand while de Jong had to dismount. Ten riders crossed the line at the end of Lap 2 together.

Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) made her move on Lap 3’s small hills, but Cant caught and dispatched her. Then American Katie Compton, who won the JingleCross event, bridged over to Van Loy. At the halfway point Cant was ahead of Compton and Van Loy by 7-seconds. Lap 4 saw Compton make the junction.

Compton was able to ride the sand while Cant had to dismount. With one lap to go Compton and Cant led the chasing trio of De Jong, De Boer and Alice Marie Arzuffi (Italy) by 18-seconds, with Maud Kapteijns (The Netherlands) and Van Loy just behind.

Compton attacked at the hurdles, but Cant grabbed her again. Then both had to dismount on the final rip through the sandpit. Finally, Cant rode clear of the American and stayed ahead to triumph by six-seconds.

De Boer keeps the World Cup lead, while Cant moves into second place.

The men’s World Cup standings were topped by van Aert (Belgium), but Dutchman van der Poel was bettering his rival in the Superprestige series. Tom Meeusen (Belgian) grabbed the hole shot and led the long, strung-out pack into the sandpit. Van der Poel didn’t have a good start–breaking a spoke–and crossed the finish line after the first lap in 19th. Van Aert led over the line with a 6:42 lap time.

Gaps grew in the field during Lap 2 as van der Poel began to weave his way through the pack. Van Aert and Meeusen pulled away from the others. The two Belgians cross the line 10-seconds in front of the main chase group.

Van Aert moved away from his compatriot on Lap 3, his lead 7-seconds with 7-laps to go. Van der Poel took the reins of the chase group. On Lap 4 van der Poel left his chase-mates behind and started to close in on Meeusen. The Dutchman eclipsed Meeusen and drew closer to van Aert, who bobbled in a corner. World champion Van Aert held a 8-second lead after four circuits.

Near the start of Lap 5 van der Poel bunnyhopped the barriers while van Aert carried his bike. The gap was closed. Just after Lap 6 began van der Poel attacked and drove a wedge into the gap. Both men made mistakes on a steep bank. With 3 laps remaining the Dutchman’s lead was 12-seconds.

Over the final two laps, van der Poel’s gap widened, while Kevin Pauwels joined countryman Meeusen and then left him behind. Van Aert held off Pauwels for second.

Van Aert keeps a healthy lead at the top of the World Cup standings, while van der Poel continues to climb.

The World Cup continues December 18 in Namur, Belgium.

2016-2017 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Round 4, Zeven, Germany, Elite Women

1) Sanne Cant (Belgium) 44:43
2) Katie Compton (USA) +0:06
3) Alice Marie Arzuffi (Italy) +0:22

2016-2017 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Round 4, Zeven, Germany, Elite Men
1) Mathiue van der Poel (The Netherlands) 1:03:21
2) Wout van Aert (Belgium) +0:21
3) Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) +0:31