Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) took his ninth cyclo-cross race of the season, dominating in the sand of the Zilvermeercross in Belgium with Corendon-Circus teammates as many of his rivals took a break from racing to focus on preparing for the intense December campaign and almost daily racing during the holiday period.
Van der Poel won with a late surge, finishing ahead of his brother David and teammate Tom Meeusen and then celebrating together as Corendon-Circus filled the podium. In the absence of Eli Iserbyt, Tim Melier and Belgian national champion Toon Aerts, Thijs Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) was the best of the rest in fourth place.
Van der Poel started in the middle of the road and soon hit the front with brother and teammate David to ensure the best line in the sand and technical sections of the course. The best riders stayed together for the opening two laps but when David upped the pace and Mathieu helped him, only three riders were able to stay with them: Corendon-Circus teammate Tom Meeusen, Wietse Bosmans and Jim Aernouts (Telenet Baloise Lions).
Soon after, van der Poel put on a first show of strength and bike skills to test his rivals, powering away in the sand around the Mol lake. He got a gap but then eased, allowing the chasers to get back on his wheel. Last on the group was Spain's Felipe Orts Lloret, who impressed on Saturday in Kortrijk.
After four of the nine laps, David and Mathieu van der Poel surged away from their fatigued rivals. The world champion was clearly stronger and opened a gap in the sand sections but David managed to get back on his wheel to take advantage of his slipstream as they blasted through the trees.
Mathieu seemed keen to help his brother win but David was clearly on limit and so the leading riders came back together with a lap to go.
Thijs Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Meeusen were the only ones left upfront and so the Corendon-Circus game plan changed again. Mathieu van der Poel powered away to win alone, David van der Poel got away to take second and then Meeusen made sure he got third to allow Corendon-Circus to fill the podium.