Van der Poel defeats Van Aert in first clash of cyclo-cross season
Mathieu van der Poel won the Zilvermeercross in Mol for the third time in his career on Friday. The Dutchman beat Wout van Aert in their long-awaited first meeting of the cyclo-cross season.
Van der Poel, the reigning cyclo-cross world champion, finished no less than one minute and 16 seconds ahead of his Belgian rival. Last year, their roles in Mol were reversed with Van Aert defeating Van der Poel.
Van Aert admitted there was nothing he could do to stop the world champion today. "Mathieu van der Poel rode off right after the start. At that moment I knew it was going to be difficult."
Round two on Saturday
"That I won the first duel with Wout van Aert? I think people are more concerned about that than we are," said Van der Poel after the race. "I have no doubt that he will make things difficult for me at other times [this season]."
The duo will meet again in Antwerp on Saturday. British rider Tom Pidcock will also be competing. It will be the first meeting between the world's top three cyclo-cross riders.
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