While the weekend culminated with victories in the elite men's and women's races at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Championships for Gage Hecht and Clara Honsinger, with the latter beating Katie Compton's 15-year run of title wins, in Europe it was Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) who put an end to Corendon-Circus rider Mathieu van der Poel's unbeaten run of 35 races.
Aerts won Saturday's Hotondcross in Ronse, Belgium – round 4 of the eight-round DVV Trofee series – in convincing fashion, relegating series leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) to second place, 1:30 down, while the big surprise was Van der Poel in third, a massive – for him – 2:14 behind the winner.
Iserbyt continues to lead the competition overall by 1:45 from Aerts, while Iserbyt's teammate, Michael Vanthourenhout, has dropped down to third, 3:08 off the pace overall.
In the women's Hotondcross race, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) claimed the win by just 21 seconds from series leader Annemarie Worst, who nevertheless managed to extend what had been a six-second overall lead over 777 teammate Yara Kastelijn to over a minute, while Alvarado slots into second in the overall classification, and is just 56 seconds down on Worst at the halfway mark of the series.
Business as usual
It was back to business as usual for Van der Poel the next day, however, not far away at the Vlaamse Druivencross in Overijse – if outsprinting an escaped dog en route to victory counts as usual.
The Dutchman was nevertheless pushed close on his way to the win by Britain's Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing), who finished just 14 seconds down, while Telenet Baloise Lions' Quinten Hermans was a further 13 seconds back in third.
Worst ran out the winner in the elite women's race in Overijse. She beat her next-closest rival, Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) by over a minute, while Worst's 777 teammate, Alice Maria Arzuffi) finished third.
The next major race is round 6 of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium, on December 22, which is followed just four days later – on December 26 – by round 7 in Heusden-Zolder, also in Belgium.