You can watch the World Cup race in Dendermonde on TV 2 Play on the second day of Christmas: The ladies from 13.30 and the men from 15.00
Finally, cycling fans will get the duel they have been waiting for in the cycling crossing season 2021/2022. In the twelfth World Cup race of the season, the big three are finally at the start.
Wout Van Aert has already ridden a World Cup race. He was superior in the snowy and fun edition of Val di Sole two weeks ago.
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Tom Pidcock has managed to ride three World Cup races, and the young Briton has placed himself on all three steps on the podium, with victory in the fast track in Rucphen last Saturday as his best result.
Van der Poel peker på Van Aert
On the other hand, Mathieu van der Poel’s start of the season has been long overdue. In the Olympics, he suffered a back injury in the mountain bike race when he overturned as one of the big gold candidates, but the Dutch phenomenon managed to catch a few rides at the end of the road season. A knee injury has meant that the bicycle cross debut has been delayed.
In Belgian Dendermonde, however, he is back. Everyone’s eyes will be on these three in a demanding course. Last year, it was Wout Van Aert who mastered the muddy conditions best, and if we are to believe the weather forecast, it can quickly become just as brutal conditions this Christmas.
– Wout is in very good shape. I expected him to win as soon as he returned, but not the way he did. It was very impressive, so it was nice to see, Van der Poel said when he met the media a few days ago, according to Cyclingnews.
– Maybe I can fight for the victory. The level behind Van Aert is something I should normally be able to follow. I do not know if I have the legs to follow him already, but I should be able to be in the group behind at least. Hopefully I can surprise myself.
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Kaggestad: – Van Aert the big favorite
Looking at the statistics, there is at least no reason to believe that Van der Poel will be able to beat Van Aert. The Dutchman has beaten the Jumbo-Visma rider four times in the last five cross-country meetings between them. The Alpecin-Fenix star has recorded a total of 153 UCI victories, compared to 89 for his one-year-old rival.
Van der Poel and Van Aert have taken the cycling world by storm. They have shown that they master several disciplines and most types of races. They have revolutionized the classics with their offensive and fearless cycling, and possess great engines and good finishing skills.
TV 2’s cycling expert, Mads Kaggestad, is really looking forward to Sunday’s ride.
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– That the giants among the multi-artists meet is a highlight among all cycling enthusiasts. On a day where everyone is on top, it would have been the stage for a close duel between Van Aert and Van der Poel in particular. But the latter is in arrears after injury and lacks competition. Pidcock is on the way up, and Van Aert is already well underway with three victories in three starts. He is run in both physically and technically, and is therefore the big favorite despite the fact that Van der Poel has significantly more victories.
Pidcock: – Beating them is my big goal
But behind them, a new super talent has emerged. Tom Pidcock drove his first full road season this year and made a name for himself among the elite right away. He dueled against Van Aert all the way to the finish line in both Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race, and emerged victorious from the former race. In addition, he won Olympic gold in Tokyo on a mountain bike.
22-year-old Pidcock has also proven to be a very versatile cyclist, and he dreams of winning the World Cup in road, mountain biking and cross-country cycling. He has been close to disciplining the two biggest on the bike cross, and now he is about to get into the bike cross rhythm. Maybe it’s too early to beat rivals Van Aert and Van der Poel already now, but he certainly has ambitions to beat them.
– At the moment, Wout is performing at a higher level, but that was also expected. My top form is expected to come around the World Cup. Still, I will not be third every time I ride against them. Beating them is my big goal this season, says Pidcock to Het Nieuwsblad.
You can watch the World Cup race in Dendermonde on TV 2 Play on the second day of Christmas: The ladies from 13:30 and the men from 15:00.