Toon Aerts breaks Mathieu van der Poel’s 35-race winning streak
On Saturday, Telenet-Baloise rider Toon Aerts’ first place finish at Hotondcross cyclocross race in Ronse, Belgium was extra sweet because he broke rival Mathieu van der Poel’s 400-day-long winning streak.
Aerts said the opportunity to end van der Poel’s 35-race winning streak was on his mind as he cut through the muddy course.
“It literally made me kick harder, it was pretty cool that I was beating him,” Aerts said. “Right now, the same rider almost always wins. If you can add a big cyclocross win to your own name, in the presence of Mathieu, the achievement will sparkle even brighter.”
In lopsided conditions where a single rider often wins, Aerts said that it can impact your own motivation.
If you can add a big cyclocross win to your own name, in the presence of Mathieu, the achievement will sparkle even brighter.
“There have been times when I didn’t feel up for it,” Aerts said. “Sometimes I had a hard time staying motivated to train. But luckily I have good people around me. They convinced me that I was not doing so badly, and that was right because as I kept racing, I would often get second or third place. I even have the fitness with which I could have won races in the past, in the absence of Mathieu. But people only remember the winner, which is why they might have thought I was having a bad season. I was prepared and finally won.”
On Saturday, he proved that he can take the win even over a powerhouse like van der Poel. And it isn’t the first time. Van der Poel’s last defeat back in 2018 was also to Aerts.
Now, let’s see what the future holds.