The exciting winter duel between the two cyclocross titans, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, came to an end on Sunday in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Van der Poel managed to outsprint his rival and conquered the fifth golden medal of his career in men’s elite category.

With this victory, the Alpecin-Deceuninck team leader is officially the UCI Cyclocross World Champion. “I think if you take one of us two away, then it makes the races less interesting for sure. It was a good battle against Wout who is really hard to beat, so I’m happy,” van der Poel said.

Another long-disputed battle was fought on Hoogerheid ground between Puck Pieterse and Fem van Empel. After a new head-to-head race on Saturday, the 21-years-old Alpecin-Deceuninck rider achieved the silver podium in her first elite of Cyclocross World Championship.

“There were a few laps that we were looking at each other and seeing where the rest was riding but Fem and I kept the pace high,” Pieterse argued. “It comes down to the details and the form on the day. We had some great battles this season, every race is different of course.”