Van der Poel vs. Van Aert to continue in Belgian cyclo-cross season

Cyclingnews
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 Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of AlpecinFenix and Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma pictured in action during the Ronde van Vlaanderen  Tour des Flandres  Tour of Flanders one day cycling race 241 km from Antwerp to Oudenaarde Sunday 18 October 2020 BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM Photo by DIRK WAEMBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of AlpecinFenix and Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma pictured in action during the Ronde van Vlaanderen Tour des Flandres Tour of Flanders one day cycling race 241 km from Antwerp to Oudenaarde Sunday 18 October 2020 BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM Photo by DIRK WAEMBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

The rivalry between Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) that came to a head in the Tour of Flanders will be reprised in several cyclo-cross races this winter.

The organisers of the X²O Badkamer Trofee (formerly DVV Trofee) announced that they are proceeding with the series despite restrictions on gatherings in Belgium to control the surging coronavirus pandemic there.

According to an announcement by the series, Wout van Aert is still finalizing his cyclo-cross calendar but plans to compete in four rounds of the series: Kortrijk on November 28, Herentals on December 23 - which replaces the Loenhout round originally planned for December 29, January 1 in Baal and the pre-Worlds round in Hamme on January 23.

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Mathieu van der Poel will also ride four of the eight events - beginning on December 12 with the Scheldecross and meeting Van Aert in Herentals, Baal and Hamme.

The races will all be held "behind closed doors" without any spectators, but will be broadcast live on Sporza, in Eurosport in the Netherlands and France, and on the Global Cycling Network.

Last season, Van Aert was still recovering from his injury from a crash during the 2019 Tour de France time trial and raced only two events in the series. Belgian Eli Iserbyt claimed the final classification, which is raced on cumulative time.

Organisers say that thanks to the new sponsor, bathroom fixture company X²O, they are able to offer full prize purses equivalent to previous years. The men and women will compete for a total prize purse of €145,600.

"We are extremely grateful to X²O Bathrooms for the efforts they put in and the great way of working together," Christophe Impens, organiser with Golazo Sports said to Sport.be.

"I would also like to thank our other partners. Some of them have been around for a long time and remain loyal to us during this difficult period. We are pleased to also welcome a number of new partners."

Soudal will sponsor the women's series, the Soudal Ladies Trophy, which was won last year by world champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado.