Regret and understanding for van der Poel: “So who will win now?” This bully supporter

Former cyclocross riders Sven Nys and Richard Groenendaal agree that this is unwise. But you can understand Mathieu van der Poel spitting at the audience.

Mathieu van der Poel expressed his disappointment during the final round of the Cyclocross World Cup in Hulst, Zeeland. With a powerful and well-directed spit, he spat towards a group of spectators. The group allegedly insulted him and threw beer and possibly even urine at him.

“I’m a little tired of it,” Van der Poel said afterwards. “It started when we walked in. I admit it wasn’t for me. But I do not accept shouting at anyone.”

Van der Poel admits that attention is now focused on the spitting incident rather than the end of an outstanding season. “I’m tired of this happening to me every week. “I don’t have to let this happen to me.”

Nys gives Van der Poel a lukewarm review. “I understand Mathieu very well. But if you react this way, you will emerge as a loser. And I think he’ll understand that by now.”

Nys knows what she’s talking about. Throughout his long and rich career, Fleming himself had to deal with public abuse. He remains an important figure in cyclocross as an analyst and team leader, especially for his son Thibau.

And the next cyclocross in which Van der Poel will race is the GP Sven Nys’ organization on January 1 in his hometown of Baal.

Nys: “This isn’t new, is it?” he emphasizes in advance. “I’ve never experienced it differently, but I don’t understand why there are fans who want to stand on the track like that. Sometimes the frustration gets too much and then the bucket overflows. But it’s better not to react.” Because who’s winning now? This bully supporter.”

Jealousy, rivalry and alcohol

How does it sound? “When someone is so dominant and stands out like Mathieu, there are always people who want to see his ass kicked. I don’t know whether to call this jealousy or jealousy. There is always a rivalry between Belgium and the Netherlands in cyclocross. And in the end, alcohol always plays a big role: When people drink beer, they immediately think that everything is going well.

“Imagine coming to work every day and being pelted with beer and profanities,” says Nys. “The drivers are busy with their work every day, they train every day, they pay attention to their meals. Then you come to the cross and all you hear is this booing.”

Nys understands that an event like this can have long-term effects. He himself suffered years of contempt from the Belgian public after refusing to race behind Rabobank teammate Richard Groenendaal at the 2000 World Championships in Sint-Michielsgestel.


The very young Nys was heavily accused of “treason” and subsequently suffered the scorn of some of the audience at every intersection. Strong shoulders that have to bear it. This also applied to Groenendaal, who could not be happy with his rainbow jersey. “Things got worse for Richard. “This bothered him so much that it made his driving worse.”

After almost two years Groenendaal expelled him from Diegem. He responded to the rude fan with a hard punch.

Groenendaal recalled the punch he gave the audience at VRT in 2001.

Ultimately, Groenendaal only received a warning from the UCI. He can also empathize with Van der Poel. “This is of course inexcusable,” he told NOS. “But the people who condemn it have never experienced it themselves.”

Nys tells her story

Twelve years and more than 200 victories later (including the first of two world championships), Nys had his chance. In 2012, the now-experienced rider jumped off his bike in Loenhout and crawled under the barrier to catch a trailer that threw a beer glass at him.

“This was a different situation than Mathieu,” says Nys. “I had a bad day and I had nothing left to lose. I even spent a few laps thinking about how to calm down fans who were swearing and throwing beer all day. Finally I got off the bike and asked the boy why he was doing this. “I think the message got through.”

Check out the pictures below of Sven Nys supporting her in 2012.

“Maybe that would have been a better reaction for Mathieu,” says Nys. “But if you aim to win, of course this is not possible.”

Wellen’s karate kick

It looks like Van der Poel will get away with a light fine from the UCI. As for Nys, there will be no further harsh sanctions. This was rarely the case in the past.

“I still remember the incident with Bart Wellens in 2011. Wellens performed a karate chop on a fan at Overijse and was subsequently removed from the race. The next day, Wellens held a press conference to explain what it was like to be a driver.”

Watch former world champion Bart Wellens hit the karate in cyclocross in Overijse in 2011 below.

Like Nys of Wellens, Wout van Aert now spoke in favor of his arch-rival Van der Poel. “People who come to shout boo better not come,” the Belgian player told Het Nieuwsblad. “I think it’s a shame I can’t say anything more about it. Mathieu is generally someone who has very good self-control. So something must have happened.”

On New Year’s Day, they will both stand at the cross bearing Nys’ name. “We have enough police officers,” Nys says. “For security reasons, there are double fences on some routes. And in cross-country sports, there’s usually enough social control to keep things from getting out of control. For example, there is never a fight. But you cannot prevent verbal insults.”

Source: NOS