Dutch phenomenon Mathieu van der Pol pulled away from his rivals at Sunday’s cyclocross world championship to take a solo win. Contested on a muddy course in Tábor, Czech Republic, the race was decided when the 20-year-old gained a small gap during the second lap and was never caught.
Van der Pol was eligible for the race’s under-23-year-old category, but he opted to ride in the main event, and the gamble paid off. “It was the best choice of my life so far,” he told Cycling News.
Youth also reigned in the women’s race. Twenty-two-year-old Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand-Prevot outsprinted Belgian Sanne Cant for the win. Marianne Vos, winner of the past six cyclocross world championships, placed third. This was the second world title for Ferrand-Prevot in five months. She also took first place in September’s road championships.
American racers had a disappointing year. In the men’s race, 38-year-old Jonathan Page was the top American finisher, placing 22nd. The four-time national champion owns the best finish by an American with a second-place ride in 2007. Current national champion Jeremy Powers was 32nd. In the women’s race, Kaitlin Antonneau was the top American finisher at 13th. Katie Compton, winner of 11 straight national titles, placed 27th.