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Mathieu van der Poel saw his perfect cyclocross season – of all wins – ended at the UCI World Cup in Benidorm where he crashed and was clearly stunned for a few seconds by the impact.

The world champion, riding for Alpecin-Deceuninck, had won on all of his 10 competitive outings since starting the 2023-24 cyclocross season on December 16th.

However, while he eventually picked himself up today, after hitting a padded pole and being flung off his bike, he never regained his place at the head of the race. The world champion trailed in 5th, some 12 seconds behind winner Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike).

Van Aert looked much more lively today – appearing sharper as the road season nears for him. But he too crashed, on the final lap, and had to battle to stay ahead of a chasing Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), whom he beat by just three seconds.

Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) rounded out the podium, at seven seconds, with Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 4th on the same time, then Van der Poel. Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), another crash victim, could only manage 9th at 27 seconds.

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