Van Aert commands the night

For the third time this week, Van der Poel, Van Aert and Pidcock faced each other in the mud. This time the appointment was at the Diegem Superprestige, in Belgian lands, And with a peculiarity: at night, as has been customary on this circuit since the year 2000. Thousands of people, DJs, crazy fans… in an area of ​​Flemish Brabant that breathes cyclocross. The win went to Van Aert ahead of Pidcock with Van der Poel closing out the podium. It was the end of an incredible streak for the Dutchman, who since 2011 had always won in Diegem: six times in the elite category, one in the Under-23s, two in the Under-19s and one in the Under-17s.

At the start line there were 95 runners, but when less than two of the eight scheduled laps had been completed, the three tenors were already in front in a duel of alternatives. One attacked in the sand, another on the planks, another pressed on the asphalt section… a beautiful duel. This circuit did not host tests in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, and what a way to return to the calendar. In the middle of the race, Van der Poel put the direct… and, nevertheless, paid the effort. A huge Van Aert rallied from third place to first, with Pidcock at his wheel and in the final meters he gave the Briton no choice in a beautiful final lap in which Van der Poel already faced it off the hook. It was an hour of tension, effort and fatigue, one of the races of the season for these three stars who alternate road with cyclocross. Multipurpose corridors.

Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock, at the head of the race

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Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock, at the head of the race

The temperature, around six degrees, at night and the rain of the previous dayswhich increased the hardness, gave a more epic touch to the appointment, and thus demonstrated Van Aert as he entered the finish line with a tired gesture, waving his hand after the brilliant conquest. The second in a row after the one he achieved 24 hours earlier in Heusden-Zolder. Since 2015, it is the first time that he has won two consecutive cyclocross events with Van der Poel present, as he points out @EldrickISB. “This can’t be healthy,” Van Aert said after his long-suffering win with a smile. Pidcock came to dream of victory: “I thought I had it.” On the other hand, and with a serious face, Van der Poel “regrets” who ends this streak of his in Diegem: “I had no legs to keep the gap”. Despite this, he was highly acclaimed on the podium, despite the fact that the winner was the host. Among the Spaniards, the best was Felipe Orts, 19th. This Friday they will see each other for the fourth and last time this week to say goodbye to the year in the exactly Cross de Loenhout, also in Belgium. A good way to end the year.

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Classification

1st Wout van Aert (Jumbo) 1h 00:46

2nd Tom Pidcock (Ineos) at 6

3rd Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin) 33

4th Eli Iserbyt (Bingoal) 1:08

5th Michael Vanthourenhout (Bingoal) 1:45

19th Felipe Orts (Burgos BH) 4:21

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