Cyclocross entertains in Iowa City return

In Cyclocross\' return to Iowa City, Mathieu van der Poel and Katerina Nash claim titles

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Cyclocross entertains in Iowa City return

Beobank-Corendon's Mathieu Van Der Poel from the Netherlands rides up Mt. Krumpit during the UCI Telenet Men's World Cup cyclocross race at Jinglecross on the Johnson County fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Sunday began with a kids events, a speedo race and a dog race followed by the women's and men's UCI world cup races. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Beobank-Corendon's Mathieu Van Der Poel from the Netherlands rides up Mt. Krumpit during the UCI Telenet Men's World Cup cyclocross race at Jinglecross on the Johnson County fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Sunday began with a kids events, a speedo race and a dog race followed by the women's and men's UCI world cup races. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Beobank-Corendon's Mathieu Van Der Poel from the Netherlands rides up Mt. Krumpit during the UCI Telenet Men's World Cup cyclocross race at Jinglecross on the Johnson County fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Sunday began with a kids events, a speedo race and a dog race followed by the women's and men's UCI world cup races. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Beobank-Corendon's Mathieu Van Der Poel from the Netherlands rides up Mt. Krumpit during the UCI Telenet Men's World Cup cyclocross race at Jinglecross on the Johnson County fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Sunday began with a kids events, a speedo race and a dog race followed by the women's and men's UCI world cup races. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Jordan Zuniga, [email protected]

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For the second year in a row, Iowa City hosted a Cyclocross World Cup event, seeing victories from Mathieu van der Poel and Kateřina Nash.

Bike racers from all over the world congregated at the Johnson County Fairgrounds on Sunday for the opening of the Cyclocross World Cup season

Cyclocross is an intense biking sport where riders not only have to master riding a bike, they must also learn to maneuver their two-wheeled devices through arduous courses.

Iowa City’s course, constructed by the organizers of the World Cup and Jingle Cross, is no different; however, the tough course was no problem for the men’s winner, Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands.

From the time van der Poel began pedaling to the time he saluted the crowd waiting for him at the finish, he held the lead.

RELATED: Bike riders feel the heat as Jinglecross kicks off

By the last few laps of the race, he had built almost a minute-long gap between him and the closest racer. He finished with a 43-second lead.

“It was up to me to make the start really hard,” Poel said. “The race was hard enough to make a difference at anytime if you were the strongest.”

Van Der Poel was granted with a bit of luck early in the race when his rival, last year’s Jingle Cross and overall World Cup winner, Wout van Aert, looked down to find a flat front tire.

That forced him far enough back in the race that he was unable to recover, as he finished outside the top 10.

Finishing after van der Poel’s dust had cleared was two Belgians, Laurens Sweeck, who finished second, and Quinten Hermans, who finished third.

Both stuck together throughout the entire race with Sweeck pulling away in the final lap.

The earlier women’s race provided a bit more drama at the finish line, as Nash, of the Czech Republic, got the honor of being on the highest podium by outracing runner-up Kaitlin Keough of the U.S. by 12 seconds.

Nash pulled away from her competition in the fourth lap and never checked her rear-view mirror until she crossed the finish line with her arms raised high.

Belgian Sanne Cant pedaled out a narrow third-place finish by beating the reigning World Cup champion Sophie de Boer by a second.

The Cylcocross World Cup isn’t heading back across the pond just yet; its last American race of the season is on Sept. 24 in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

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