Preview X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024 | Can Van Aert surprise in the Vlaamse Duinencross? Cyclo-cross

Preview X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024 | Can Van Aert surprise in the Vlaamse Duinencross?

Preview X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024 | Can Van Aert surprise in the Vlaamse Duinencross?

It's time again for the final Christmas season duel between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. This means we're focusing on the X2O Trophy race in Koksijde for this preview. Last year, the Flemish cyclist from Jumbo-Visma put his Dutch rival from Alpecin-Deceuninck one and a half minutes behind in the sand in the West side of Belgium. However, the chances of a similar race scenario occurring this year seem very small. looks ahead to the cyclo-cross race in the dunes!

The Duinencross in Koksijde can now be considered a classic on the cyclo-cross calendar. Cycling legend Roger De Vlaeminck, also known as Monsieur Paris-Roubaix, triumphed at the first edition in 1969. Other cycling and cyclo-cross legends like Roland Liboton, Paul Herygers, Adrie van der Poel, Richard Groenendaal, and Sven Nys have also won on the Flemish coast. The two superstars of 2024, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, have previously raised their hands in victory in the dunes of Koksijde.

Most recent winners X2O Trophy Koksijde

2022/2023 Wout van Aert / Shirin van Anrooij
2021/2022 Eli Iserbyt / Annemarie Worst
2020/2021 Cancelled due to Covid
2019/2020 Mathieu van der Poel / Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado
2018/2019 Mathieu van der Poel / Denise Betsema
2017/2018 Mathieu van der Poel / Maud Kaptheijns
2016/2017 Cancelled due to storm
2015/2016 Sven Nys / Sanne Cant
2014/2015 Wout van Aert / Sanne Cant
2013/2014 Niels Albert / Katie Compton

Course, weather and times for the X2O Koksijde Trophy 2024

Sand, sand, and more sand: it's no surprise that the Vlaamse Duinencross (Dune cross) in Koksijde is once again centered around various sand sections. The course hasn't changed much from previous editions. The participating riders will traditionally have to tackle numerous dune passages. The sand sections vary greatly, with both ascending and descending stretches, all differing in depth. This will continually raise the question of how well the riders can cycle through a complete sand section. Those who frequently have to dismount could end up facing a substantial gap. So, the course is certainly not to blame!

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According to Belgian weather forecasters, it will remain dry on Thursday afternoon along the Flemish coast. This actually means that the skies are likely to open up before and just after the cross, but not during the race. The course will still be quite wet. Additionally, it will be quite windy in the province of West Flanders, with temperatures reaching around ten degrees Celsius.

Start women: 1:45 pm
Finish women: around 2:30 pm
Start men: 3:00 pm
Finish men: around 4:00 pm

Favorites for the men's X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024

Lars van der Haar leads the X2O trophy general classification. Following the race in Baal (where he finished fourth on New Year's Day), the Dutchman from Baloise Trek Lions should have unofficially clinched the overall victory, had it not been for his most formidable opponent Eli Iserbyt losing only a minute and a half. And that without participating. In the X2O general classification, the well-known 'five-minute rule' applies. "There are still four races, so anything can still happen. It's looking good now, but Cameron is still in a good position, and what about Eli actually losing almost no time here?" said the 'Terrier of Woudenberg' to Van der Haar is thus on edge. And a sharp Van der Haar is always to be reckoned with.

lars van der haar
Van der Haar leads the X2O general classification

On the other hand, Mathieu van der Poel is undoubtedly the top favorite in Koksijde. The all-rounder from Kapellen won every cyclo-cross race he started this season. And how: time and again, MVDP was nearly flawless. This means that his long-time arch-rival Wout van Aert must be considered a notch lower. Last year, Van Aert took the victory in Koksijde, but this time the roles seem completely reversed. Or can Van Aert still pull a surprise from his Visma | Lease a Bike hat?

Tom Pidcock, another member of the 'Big Three', is always a contender, though he's currently navigating a rough patch. Recently, 'Pidders' made headlines for the wrong reasons – from an alleged headbutt in Hulst to a frustrated outburst in Baal. Can he turn things around on the coast? Pim Ronhaar seems more likely to snatch a podium spot, riding high on his recent good form, including a remarkable third place in Baal. Also worth watching is sand specialist Laurens Sweeck, though there are questions about his current form. And don't forget about Thibau Nys, Ryan Kamp, and Cameron Mason, who could all make their mark in Koksijde.

Favorites for the men's X2O Trophy Koksijde, according to

Top favorite: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
Outsiders: Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike)
Longshots: Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions), Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon)

Favorites for the women's X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024

Fem van Empel is, in principle, the top favorite to win in Koksijde. However, we state this with some hesitation, as the world champion injured her knee in Baal, requiring stitches for proper healing. This situation increases the chances for the woman in form, Lucinda Brand. The lady from Dordrecht, representing Baloise Trek Lions, consistently competes for podium positions. In recent weeks, she has increasingly been involved in the fight for victory. It promises to be an exciting battle again!

Puck Pieterse and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado will not be participating in Koksijde. Therefore, to complete this list of favorites, we need to look for other riders. However, the participants' list for the women's race has not yet arrived in our mailbox. As such, we will update this preview as soon as possible!

Favorites for the women's X2O Trophy Koksijde, according to

Top favorites: Fem van Empel (Visma | Lease a Bike) and Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions)

TV coverage of the X2O Trophy Koksijde 2024

You can follow both the women's and men's races live from 1:30 PM on Sporza (VRT 1), Eurosport (main channel, and GCN+), and a stream on Proximus Pickx.

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