Posted by Editoress on 02/2/13
Following in the footsteps of a famous parent can be a daunting task, but Mathieu van der Poel seems up to the challenge. Son of the legendary professional cyclist Adri van der Poel, the younger van der Poel is becoming a legend in his own right. As the defending champion in the Junior Men’s category at the Cyclo-cross World Championships, not to mention being on an undefeated streak lasting well over a year, all eyes were on the young Dutchman in Louisville, Kentucky.
Shortly after the start all eyes were on van der Poel’s back wheel, as he shot to the front and never bothered to look back. Not only did he lead from start to finish, he recorded the fastest time on each of the race’s six laps.
Mathieu van der Poel
Only compatriot Martijn Budding could keep within shouting distance, and even he conceded nearly a full minute by the finish. Czech rider Adam Toupalik claimed the third step on the podium, holding off American hope Logan Owen by four seconds.
Martijn Budding, Mathieu van der Poel, Adam Toupalik
Owen went into the race hoping for a chance to end van der Poel’s dominance, but a poor start put paid to his chances. A huge effort on the opening lap saw him quickly move into the top-ten. From there he mounted a race-long surge in an attempt to gain the podium, but the effort ultimately proved fruitless. Despite falling short in his quest for a medal, Owen was arguably the man of the match.
Peter Disera was Canada’s top finisher, coming home in 19th place. “To be at a world championships representing Canada is amazing. We were talking about what it means to be here, and the fact that we are representing 33 million people in the country is absolutely incredible.”
The national 'Cross champion managed a mistake-free race, not suffering any crashes or mechanical issues, nor requiring a bike change. [Note: We have an interview with Michael which has been posted separately]
Trevor Pearson and Isaac Niles both finished on the lead lap in 28th and 30th positions respectively, with Neil Symington of Sussex, NB coming home in 32nd.
“The conditions got to me, so I’ll have to learn from that for next time,” explained Pearson. The Turner Valley AB resident praised the support he received from the Canadian team: “The team really helped me out; we didn’t have to do much. They carried everything and did everything for us.”
“It really hurts, but it was worth it,” related Niles post-race. “Just getting the experience and coming to these international races and racing against the best of the best is great.”
Emil van Dijk wrote this report