The eagerly awaited battle between Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Pidcock fizzled out when the Dutchman crashed onto the cobbles on the second lap at Saturday’s Superprestige Boom cyclocross race.
The young Yorkshireman then soloed to victory on his World Champion’s edition Pinarello Crossista F.
In a much tighter women’s race, Aniek Van Alphen outsprinted Denise Betsema. The 23-year-old Dutchwoman followed up her victory with 7th the next day at the Antwerpen UCI World Cup. Here van der Poel and Pidcock’s fortunes reversed with the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider beating Wout van Aert into second in the Belgian’s first CX race of the season.
Fem van Empel took her fifth UCI World Cup win of the season ahead of Puck Pieterse.
In early December, the hard, fast courses of the early season races in the United States are a fading memory. The weekend’s courses were wet, muddy and sandy and sorely tested the riders’ cyclocross skills.
Accordingly, the riders reverted to aggressively treaded cyclocross tyres to keep moving where possible but often were forced to run through the sandpits.
Mathieu van der Poel’s Canyon Inflite CF SLX
Van der Poel bounced back from Saturday’s crash claiming victory in Sunday’s Antwerpen UCI World Cup on his fleet of Canyon Inflites in a special edition crimson colourway.
The multiple CX world champion gets a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with wheels to match. Like many others, he ran Dugast tubs.
Although van der Poel is back in Team Alpecin-Deceuninck colours, his red Canyon does distinguish him from his teammates.
Puck Pieterse’s World Champion Edition Canyon Inflite CF SLX
Puck Pieterse’s Canyon Inflite CF SLX is splattered with the colours of her U23 cyclocross World Champion rainbow jersey.
The 20-year-old is also the reigning European cyclocross and cross-country mountain bike champ.
The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider’s bike from team sponsors Canyon is built around a 2x Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain and matching wheels fitted with 700x33mm Dugast tubular tyres.
Kiona Crabbe’s 2022 Stevens Super Prestige
Kiona Crabbe’s finished 20th at the Antwerpen UCI World Cup on the new Stevens Super Prestige – one of the most successful cyclocross bikes of all time.
The 2022 model has a new frame. At the front end of the bike, cables now run under the FSA stem into the headtube.
The advantage of internal cable routing for cyclocross is less about aerodynamics than on the road and more about reducing the likelihood of the gear and brake cables getting snagged on something or covered in mud.
The bolt head for the integrated seatpost clamp is only visible from the non-drivetrain side of the bike.
The 2x drivetrain is made up from a combination of Shimano Ultegra crank arms, aftermarket The Mechanic Parts chainrings and GRX Di2 shifters.
Michael Vantourenhout European Champion’s Ridley X-Night SL
Michael Vantourenhout, who took third at the Antwerpen UCI World Cup, rode his European Champion’s edition Ridley X-Night SL.
The Belgian brand’s ‘cross bike is sprayed in European Union blue with gold stars to commemorate the title he won in November in Namur, Belgium.
A Dura-Ace 2x drivetrain is paired with DT Swiss wheels and another set of 33mm Dugast Rhino tubular tyres.
Eli Iserbyt’s custom Ridley X-Night SL
The former European Champion Eli Iserbyt’s Ridley X-Night SL celebrates the pint-sized Belgian’s three victories at the Koppenbergcross, a cyclocross race that ascends the eponymous Flemish berg on each lap.
Like his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Vantourenhout, Iserbyt is running a 2x Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with DT Swiss wheels and Dugast Rhino tubulars.
The finishing kit is all from Deda Elementi, but Iserbyt’s size 48cm frame must be far smaller than Vantourenhout’s, who is nearly 20cm taller.
Lars van der Haar’s Trek Boone
Baloise-Trek Lions had a number of racers in action on the weekend, including 2021 European cyclocross champion Lars van der Haar.
Van der Haar came second at the Superprestige Boom on Trek’s cyclocross race bike, the Boone. Like the other Trek riders, he ran a SRAM Red eTap AXS 1x drivetrain and bucked the double-chainring trend on the day.
Bontrager provided the RSL 37 wheels fitted with the ubiquitous Dugast tubular tyres.