Superprestige Zonhoven has a reputation as one of the toughest races in cyclo-cross, with the deep sand quarry a true test of nerve and bike-handling ability. The quarry serves as a natural amphitheatre, filled with thousands of spectators, and the world’s best riders attack the super-steep descent at a pace us mere mortals can barely fathom, before scaling the opposite side, shin-deep in sand.
But Mathieu van der Poel is a rider capable of taking it all in his stride, claiming his eighth victory in nine races so far this season at last weekend’s edition of Superprestige Zonhoben. Even when van der Poel was nearly knocked off his stride by Zonhoven’s sandy descent, the 22-year-old’s superb bike-handling skills saved him.
Just as the Zonhoven course looked to get the better of van der Poel, with the 2015 CX world champion about to get thrown off the front of the bike, he recovered to stay upright, riding on to claim victory by 22 seconds over Wout Van Aert. Check it out.