The 2018-2019 Telenet Superprestige series kicks off in Gieten, Netherlands on Sunday. The Superprestige consists of eight races, with Mathieu van der Poel winning the overall last year. The series was dominated by van der Poel who won six of the eight races, with Wout van Aert winning the other two. With both riders having strong starts to their season, it is likely the battle will come down to those two once again.
Gieten is most notable due to the fact that it is based around a lake. The course has lengthy sections of mostly rideable sand, combined with some fast and technical wooded sections. One section of uphill sand is often ran and there’s one set of planks that most riders can bunny hop. Lap times are often on the shorter side meaning the men will do ten or so laps.
The course was a bit muddier then usual last year, as it rained the week leading up to the race. Even though it was muddy, the sand was still rideable and most of the wooded sections had nice lines carved out.
Last year, Van der Poel kicked things off with a first lap attack after the first trip through the sand. He was eventually reeled back in as a large group formed near the front. After a bit of reshuffling and some minor attacks, van der Poel got away from the group in the final laps. He held on for a 15 second victory over Wout van Aert. Laurens Sweeck was third on the day.
After last weekends racing, it appears the win will come down to van der Poel and van Aert again. However, Toon Aerts was not in action and will be a powerful wild card this weekend. Aerts dominated the first two rounds of the World Cup and looks poised to challnege for the win this Sunday in Gieten.
- Mathieu van der Poel
- Toon Aerts
- Wout van Aert
Dark horse: Quinten Hermans