The World Championships promised an epic battle to close off the event, and it delivered as Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert fought for the rainbow jersey. It came down to a sprint between the two and Mathieu van der Poel has taken the win he's dreamed of all winter long.
The race started off with the Dutch launching themselves in front, with Lars van der Haar taking the holeshot. It took no time for the first offensive to come as Mahieu van der Poel attacked the opening lap immediately with only Wout van Aert able to respond. The main gap was then created, with the rest of the field quickly being distanced behind.
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Within two laps the gap grew to 25 seconds to the closes chasers Michael Vanthourenhout and Gerben Kuijpers who attacked in the chasing group. In national teams, the remaining Belgians looked to save themselves and allowed the gap the grow slightly as others put on a chase. On the sixth lap Kuijpers cracked as the situation remained similar, only with the gap slightly expanding and the chasing group getting near.
Towards the end of the circuit van der Poel frequently launched attacks, but closely matched by van Aert, whilst behind Lars van der Haar put on a big effort to reel in the two riders ahead, and enter the fight for the bronze medal with only Eli Iserbyt being able to follow the wheel.
The situation remained stable until the final lap, with the gaps closing slightlfully but not in a meaningful way. The two studied each other all the way into the final sprint, slowing the pace towards the finishing straight. Van der Poel was the first to launch his move and managed to have enough power to sustain the lead, he sprinted to victory in Hoogerheide!
Wout van Aert had to settle for second place, with Eli Iserbyt riding to third right behind as he outsprinted Lars van der Haar. Followed Michael Vanthourenhout, Gerben Kuijpers, Niels Vandeputte, Laurens Sweeck, Cameron Mason and Clément Venturini who completed the Top10.
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