After having been beaten by Wout van Aert for the past three years Mathieu van der Poel on Sunday in Bogense was crowned as world champion for the second time in his career.

And the way in which the 24-year old Dutchman rode to victory left no doubt that he is the world’s strongest cross rider. Especially on the slope Mathieu van der Poel was in a class of his own.

In goal van der Poel was 16 seconds ahead of Wout van Aert while World Cup winner Toon Aerts was third after a dramatic Belgian duel where Aerts seemed to have distanced his compatriot. But in the last descent he slipped in a bend and crashed.

“It was difficult to go really fast on this route and with 12 laps it was a really long and exhausting race. But I’m hugely happy for the victory,”said van der Poel after he had regained the gold medal he last won in Czech Tabor in 2015.

Eight men quickly departed with a Belgian 4 to 3 advantage over the Dutch and Spanish Felipe Orts Lloret as the surprising feature.

In a joint attempt to crack van der Poel, the Belgians forced the speed from front at the first two laps but already on the third lap only van der Poel and van Aert managed to keep pace. But soon after van der Poel exploited a technical error on the part of the ruling champion – andthe rest was just a matter of how big the victory would be.