The 2021 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships were held in Ostend, Belgium and featured a challenging course including a steep and tall flyover ramp that put the riders into deep sand which soon turned into a ride along the beach against strong winds. This was the final race for 15-time USA National Champion Katie Compton who is retiring after a stellar cyclo-cross career.
Van der Poel’s Wins Fourth title at the 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships
The final day of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ostend (Belgium) celebrated the rising talent of 18-year-old Fem van Empel in the Women U23 race and confirmed the rainbow supremacy of Mathieu van der Poel, who claimed a phenomenal fourth Men Elite title. Once again, the winners are all from the Netherlands with another Dutch rider, Aniek van Alphen, on the Women U23 podium, in second, and Hungary’s Blanka Kata Vas in third place – while the men’s was completed by Belgians Wout van Aert and Toon Aerts.
“The flat tire for Van Aert was a little bit of luck from my side to come back but at that moment I didn’t feel the race was over yet,” said Mathieu van der Poel. “The course changed and became a bit faster at the beach section and I felt (I had) a bit better legs by then and I improved every lap running through the sand, so the good feeling was growing lap by lap and that made the difference for me today.”
Dutch Domination in the Sand
The protagonist of the women’s race was Annemarie Worst, who fell numerous times but was able to fight with Lucinda Brand until the last lap (and her last crash). It was a similar fate among the Under 23s for the other Dutch rider, Ryan Kampf, who, after a fall in the early stages, recovered to claim the silver medal.
“For so many years I was so close and now finally after such a great season, to finish it off like this is really cool,” said Lucinda Brand, who made the podium in the last three editions. “Regarding the crash in the finale, we crossed each other and I just touched her elbow or something. It was the weakest point to touch her so it wasn’t really nice but also not easy to avoid that situation. Unfortunately, it happened.