He began exceptionally well but decided to hold back and watch before taking action. "On such a fast course, that's the best," Van der Poel said in the post-race interview. He further added, "In a big group, they then start looking at each other, that was also the goal”
Clément Venturini quickly established himself in the lead at the beginning, leaving the Dutchman to struggle to regain control. "It was very difficult to make the difference in the beginning. I wanted to slow down and see what I could do with an attack on the toughest part. That worked out and I'm happy with that," he said.
His competitor Wout van Aert also showed his preparedness for the event with a victory in Hamme the previous day, making their performances roughly equivalent in comparison."It will depend on the legs of the day, but I think it will be 50-50. Wout has had the advantage a few times, but hopefully, I can counter it. We are well matched,” said van der Poel.
The next few days will be spent training and resting in preparation for the crucial event at Hoogerheide. “I felt pretty good and I can be happy with that. With some rest, I can be at my best. I will do a few more tough but short training sessions and also rest to have my best cross legs next week,”concluded the Dutchman.