Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) has sustained injuries to his left knee and shoulder after crashing at the Superprestige Boom on Saturday.
The Dutchman went on to finish the race more than three minutes behind the day’s winner World Champion Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) but confirmed he would be well enough to start the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Antwerp on Sunday.
“I was shouting to the equipment post and was not focused enough for that corner. I hurt my shoulder and knee quite a bit,” Van der Poel said in a post-race interview (opens in new tab) with Sporza.
Van der Poel started in the fourth row but only needed a few minutes to reach Pidcock at the front of the race. The pair raced head-to-head in the opening two laps stretching their lead out to seven seconds ahead of the nearest chasers, but the Dutchman suddenly crashed on a slippery cobbled section of the circuit just after the mechanic pits.
Pidcock also went down in the crash but managed to get back up and maintain his race lead, and then went on to win the race.
Van der Poel had hit the ground heavily, injuring his left knee and shoulder. He remained seated on the circuit for a few seconds but was soon back on his bike, shaking his head.
He then dismounted to walk up a grass hill, appearing to limp on his injured left knee. He remounted his bike and gently rode through the next section of the circuit, appearing to take inventory of any injuries.
Although he was out of contention for the win, he continued racing and picked up speed on each lap. At one point, he held the fastest lap time, but he was positioned at three minutes down and too far back to race for a top 10.
“That surprised me a bit, too. I was just riding out to not get stiff and get some ‘cross rhythm. Especially in the first two rounds, I had pain in my shoulder and knee, but in the end, it went a bit better,” Van der Poel said.
“It was not necessary to continue driving, but that is often better after a crash. In the beginning, it really didn’t work, then it worked better. But I didn’t really find my rhythm.”
Van der Poel said he intends to start at the next round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Antwerp on Sunday, where he is a favourite alongside Pidcock and Van Aert.